Above: From left are Dana Floyd, Bille Walchek, David Natinsky and Eric Natinsky, all with SAGE; Kevin Fralicks, UNT senior director of development at UNT;  Sara Besley, foundation manager at PPEF, Dr. Wes Randall, department of marketing chair at UNT, Bob McLean, executive vice president at PPAI and Jenni Clark, director of development at UNT.


In the past year, seven industry companies have stepped up to support the Promotional Products Education Foundation’s new university scholarship/internship pilot program at college campuses across the country. The program awards scholarships and internships to students studying fields related to the promotional products industry.

Last week, at the SAGE Show in Irving, Texas, SAGE (PPAI 100001) made a $10,000 commitment to support the program at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. The contribution will provide a $2,500 annual scholarship to a junior or senior student with a minimum 3.0 GPA who is majoring in marketing.

“We have seen very well-rounded UNT graduates enter the workforce and become assets to their respective organizations,” says Bille Walchek, director of marketing at SAGE. “Several members of our team at SAGE are UNT alumni and they exhibit all of the qualities you want in colleagues and representatives of your company. Their hard-working attitudes and business acumen speak volumes about the education they received and made UNT stand out to us.”

Kevin Fralicks, executive director of development at the University of North Texas College of Business, adds, “The University of North Texas College of Business is honored to have been selected by SAGE and PPEF as the first Texas university for their pilot scholarship program. Their commitment to the university will help elevate our marketing program and provide students with the opportunity to pursue their academic passions more freely. We are grateful for this partnership and look forward to the benefits it will bring to our students and college.”

The scholarship/internship pilot program was first established by PPEF in 2016 with donations from distributors Brand Fuel and Signet for scholarships at Wake Tech Community College and the University of Memphis, respectively.

This year, in addition to SAGE, four more companies have come onboard with $10,000 commitments for programs at these universities:

BrandVia Scholarship at San Jose State University
Gemline Scholarship at Northern Essex Community College
Imagen Brands Scholarship at the University of Cincinnati
Shumsky Scholarship at the University of Dayton

In addition to providing the funding for these pilot scholarships, the companies will work with the faculty and career services departments at the schools to promote and advance the promotional products industry by making presentations in classrooms and attending networking events on campus. They will also provide an internship or other opportunities to one or more students from the respective colleges.

The goal of the program is to build awareness of promotional products as a viable advertising medium and to educate faculty and students about the career opportunities available in the industry.

PPEF has been awarding scholarships to promotional products industry employees and their children since 1989; a total of more than $1.7 million since their inception. In 2016, PPEF expanded its support to include commitments to universities and colleges that are preparing students for careers related to the industry.