University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations

November 30, 2005
Contact: Jennifer Ekman, USA Office of Public Relations, (251) 460-6360

USA Alumnus And ARAMARK Executive Jack Donovan To Address USA Fall Commencement

An exceptional business executive at one of America’s most respected companies, USA alumnus John R. “Jack” Donovan Jr. will give the University of South Alabama 2005 fall
commencement address at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10 at the USA Mitchell Center.

Donovan, who has achieved enormous success at ARAMARK Corporation through his dynamic and visionary leadership skills, serves as senior vice president of ARAMARK Corp. and president of the company’s Business, Sports and Entertainment division.

The ceremony marks a new beginning for 1,380 graduates and brings the historic number of USA degrees to 56,529. At its fall commencement ceremony, USA will award 821 bachelor’s, 540 master’s, seven educational specialists and 12 doctor of philosophy degrees.


Donovan earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University, majoring in economics and public policy studies. In 1984, he completed his master’s degree in business administration at the University of South Alabama. He credits his USA education with his success in business.

He began his career at ARAMARK in 1988. He is now one of the top executives at the $10.2 billion global company, which employs 242,500 workers in 20 countries. In his 17-year ARAMARK career, Donovan has served as president of campus and educational services. In 2004, Donovan was named to his current job.

Today, Donovan oversees ARAMARK’s services to thousands of stadiums, arenas, amphitheaters, convention centers and tourist attractions. These include NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball stadiums and arena sites, as well as major concert halls and office buildings throughout the country. In 2004, his ARAMARK personnel handled such special events as the Super Bowl, Major League Baseball All-Star Game, and a formal dinner for 5,000 at former president George Bush’s 80th birthday celebration.

Prior to joining ARAMARK, Donovan held positions with Morrison Inc. of Mobile and Servomation Corp.

Earlier this year, he returned to the University as the Mitchell College of Business spring semester’s Executive-in-Residence, where he delivered a lively, informative talk to undergraduates. He encouraged the students to adopt a lifelong learning model, continually improving their skills and education. Donovan urged them to find a career they could feel passionately about. “When I get up in the morning, I can’t wait to go to work,” he told the students. “I love what I do.”

Donovan and his wife, Lorri, have donated $100,000 to endow a management scholarship in the Mitchell College of Business in honor of his former management professor and mentor, Dr. Paul Pietri.

He serves on numerous boards including the National Advisory Board for the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management at the University of Delaware and is a member of the board of directors of the National Restaurant Association.

In February, Donovan will formally receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of South Alabama National Alumni Association. The award recognizes outstanding achievement and leadership by USA alumni.

Donovan and his family live in Philadelphia.

Parking Guidelines for Fall Commencement:

Graduates should use the reserved parking lot located off Jaguar Drive, between the Student Recreation Center and the Mitchell College of Business. Admittance to the HPE Building is limited to graduating students only.

Handicapped parking for students, families and friends is available, but limited. Entrance to this parking lot will be from Old Shell Road only (behind the Mitchell Center). Proper handicapped parking tags must be visible for access to this lot.

Guests may park on campus and a shuttle service will be provided to assist in the traffic flow. The shuttle stops will be at University Commons located at the corner of Old Shell Road and University Boulevard, and USA South Drive from noon to 6 p.m.

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