Taylor learned about the honor Oct. 21 when representatives from the university surprised her at the Taylor Family Foundation quarterly meeting that took place at Bennett International Group’s home office in McDonough.
Kate Troelstra, vice president of university advancement with Clayton State, explained that the honorary doctorate is a very special designation bestowed on very few and requires the approval of the state’s Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.
The recommendation was initiated by Troelstra and Thomas Giffin, director of development at Clayton State, and was fully supported by Clayton State faculty.
“It was a recommendation made by faculty based on the wonderful work she’s been doing, not only within her industry but at Clayton State University,” Troelstra said.
Taylor was selected to receive the honorary doctorate because of her many accomplishments at Bennett International Group over the past 40 plus years, and her experience, industry knowledge, and professionalism that has made her a leader in the transportation and logistics industry.
“She has been recognized by her peers in her profession, and there is a natural link between her and Clayton State University because of our Supply Chain Program, one of our fastest growing programs,” Troelstra said.
The school also recognized that for the past several years Taylor has made significant scholarship gifts to the school for students in the Supply Chain Program, and those scholarships have been life-changing. Troelstra said there are students who would not have had the opportunity to finish their education if it weren’t for Taylor’s gifts.
In addition, Taylor was a featured speaker for the Jim Wood Speaker Series last spring where she shared her experiences in the business world.
“It was a wonderful thing to see and to be a part of,” Troelstra said, talking about Taylor’s address to the students.
Troelstra said the combination of Taylor’s many accomplishments in the industry, her leadership, her service to the local community, and her connection with Clayton State University really made it an easy recommendation.
“…and I think the faculty had no problem echoing that recommendation to the president,” Troelstra added.
With a few colleagues and family members around, Troelstra and Giffin presented Taylor with the news and Taylor said she was overwhelmed.
“What an honor,” Taylor said. “I don’t know how to thank you.”
In an email to the Bennett family, Lynette Alt Mathis, Taylor’s daughter and vice president of Bennett International Group, wrote:
On several occasions people have asked me, ‘what do you give a person that can get anything for themselves?’ Well, this is one of these things. My mom spent her early years raising three children and working two jobs. College was not an option. With only a high school diploma and a passion to survive, she learned to be a wonderful business leader, entrepreneur, negotiator, mentor, and community leader… Clayton State University, which is a part of the University of Georgia system, has recognized that Marcia Taylor’s business knowledge far exceeds her current resume and voted her as one of very few to receive this honor. She has always been a huge supporter of the importance of education and has paid for several children and adults to go to school. And NOW she is getting paid back tenfold. Her life lessons and sacrifices have now been recognized.
Congratulations to Marcia G. Taylor! Your Bennett family is very proud of you!