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Embracing Southern Hospitality in Education

Milo’s Tea Company embodies the essence of Southern hospitality and commitment to community. With a focus on people-first principles, Milo’s endeavors to make a difference in the lives of consumers, customers, associates, and communities alike. In a unique partnership, Assistant Professor Dr. Joshua V. White of the School of Business Administration (SBA) at the University of Dayton (UD) has integrated Milo’s Tea into his classroom to teach the importance of corporate purpose and values.

In the heart of the South, sweet tea is more than just a beverage; it's a tradition ingrained in the culture. Embracing this tradition, Professor White has found a unique way to impart lessons in corporate purpose and values to his students. For the past several semesters, Professor White has partnered with Milo’s Tea Company, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, to provide his students with a taste of Southern hospitality by offering them sweet tea at the start of the semester.

The tea goes along with Professor White's lecture on company values and strategic leadership centers around Milo’s Tea. Despite being America's number one refrigerated tea brand, many of Professor White's students had never tried Milo's Tea before. Through this partnership, not only are students introduced to the delicious taste of Milo's Tea, but they also learn about the company's commitment to purpose-driven values and ideals.

Explaining the inspiration behind this initiative, Professor White shared, "In the South, sweet tea is the drink for every occasion. We serve it at weddings, funerals, birthday parties, and especially when welcoming guests. Serving sweet tea to my students is my way of showing them southern hospitality, celebrating the beginning of a new semester, and nurturing the sense of community that lies at the very core of UD’s mission and purpose."

Milo’s Tea Company stands out for its unwavering dedication to its purpose and values. As Professor White puts it, "Milo’s is the most successful refrigerated tea brand in America, and they achieved their success by staying true to their purpose-driven values and ideals." Founded in 1946 by Milo and Bea Carlton, Milo’s philosophy of using high-quality, natural ingredients and never sacrificing taste still guides the company today. Moreover, Milo’s is a Certified Women-Owned Business and a Platinum-Certified Zero Waste Manufacturer, demonstrating its commitment to sustainability and community stewardship.

Bringing samples of Milo's Tea into the classroom while discussing the company allows Professor White to elevate the lesson on corporate purpose and values. "It is one thing to talk about the importance of corporate purpose and strong values, but the lesson rises to a new level of significance when those values materialize in the classroom," he explains. By witnessing Milo's Tea's generosity firsthand, students gain a deeper understanding of how companies can positively impact their communities.

Milo’s Tea Company has graciously donated hundreds of bottles of tea over multiple semesters, never asking for anything in return. This gesture not only enriches the classroom experience but also motivates students to support companies that contribute meaningfully to society.

In a world where corporate responsibility and ethical leadership are increasingly valued, initiatives like Professor White's collaboration with Milo’s Tea Company serve as shining examples of how education and industry can come together to inspire the next generation of leaders, one sip at a time.

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