Connected by Purpose

Johnson & Wales University Annual Report 2020–2021

Celebrating a year of academic excellence

Johnson & Wales is powered by a belief that every student deserves a high-quality education that can prepare them for success in a meaningful career. JWU takes intentional steps to embrace and champion a teacher-scholar model and we celebrate scholarship, research, and faculty excellence. Over the last year, JWU faculty have secured new grants to advance the body of knowledge in their fields, and the university has invested in student academic supports.

Letter from the Chancellor

As I often do, I think back on our history when Miss Johnson and Miss Wales started this school right after the onset of World War I. We have survived wars, the Great Depression, recessions, hurricanes like Hugo that decimated coastal South Carolina in 1989, my first year at the JWU Charleston Campus, and now the global pandemic.

Each time we came back, stronger than ever because of the flexibility, resourcefulness, determination, and grit of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and our partners and friends throughout the world. We have accomplished so much, expanding our academic program offerings and experiential learning opportunities for students and creating a more interdisciplinary curriculum, especially with the addition of the College of Food Innovation & Technology.

Our strategic decision to consolidate our multi-campus footprint has positioned us well for what lies ahead. We will always be proud of the contributions and lasting legacies our campuses made in North Miami and Denver. As we reimagine our university system, we know the Charlotte Campus is integral to the success of Johnson & Wales University.

Now, Johnson & Wales is looking to the future by embarking on a new 10-year vision with the first phase, titled POWERED BY PURPOSE 2024, guiding our work over the next three years. Long known as a world leader in culinary and hospitality education, we are evolving to become a comprehensive university that provides opportunities in a wide breadth of industry-relevant disciplines.

Through PURPOSE 2024, we will continue that evolution and embrace our standing as a university that supports every student’s journey to fulfilling their academic potential, professional ambitions, and personal aspirations. It is a pledge we make to each student, whether they are enrolled in Providence, Charlotte, or virtually through our newly repositioned College of Professional Studies.

We deeply appreciate the philanthropy we have received from all who believe in our mission; this has allowed us to strengthen Johnson & Wales’ sound fiscal foundation. Our new plan builds on the culture of giving and engagement that became stronger during the months of COVID-19 as we sought new ways to connect and support the JWU community. The generosity of those who donated during the “oneJWU: 24 Hours of Giving” and to the JWU Emergency Fund enabled so many students to continue their academic pursuits. Your ongoing support will further our efforts to promote student learning and to expand and enhance Johnson & Wales’ academic reach and reputation through research and scholarship.

I am excited for the future and what we will achieve as we bring our two campuses in Providence and Charlotte together to strengthen one university — Johnson & Wales.




University Stats

Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 9,000 graduate, undergraduate and online students at its campuses in Providence, Rhode Island and Charlotte, North Carolina. The time students spend at JWU is nothing short of transformative, as demonstrated by career outcomes, expected earnings and economic mobility rankings.



Experiential Education

JWU students are invested in their education and intentional about their experiences, ensuring that their learning is authentic and purposeful. These students thrive in JWU’s supportive community, which encourages their passion for hands-on learning, values their intellectual curiosity, and immerses them in dynamic labs and career-focused classrooms.

Employers tell us that JWU graduates demonstrate a strong work ethic, embrace challenges and ask the right kinds of questions. The university’s commitment to providing students with a practical, relevant education provides industry with agile graduates who are real-world tested and are ready to enter a highly dynamic workforce.




The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education has listed JWU on its 2021 College Rankings, which focuses on students’ engagement with studies, interaction with teachers and satisfaction with educational experience.

U.S. News & World Report ranked JWU No. 16 for Best Undergraduate Teaching in the Regional North category. JWU also placed in the Regional North’s Best Colleges Overall and Top Performers on Social Mobility. The latter measures how well schools graduated students who received Pell Grants, given to students from households with annual incomes of less than $50,000.

Money Magazine also ranked JWU among its Best Colleges for 2020–21 by its value, quality of education, affordability and outcomes including graduates’ earnings, employment status, career trajectory and socioeconomic mobility.

JWU is committed to making a quality education as accessible and affordable as possible. The university has taken proactive steps to manage student debt by increasing institutional aid over the past several years. Approximately 95% of all JWU on-campus students receive institutional scholarships and/or grants from the university, often making an education at JWU more affordable than other universities.



Visit for updated tuition and financial aid information.



Career Outcomes

Johnson & Wales University enjoys a 97.7% career outcomes rate for 2019 graduates who earned a bachelor’s degree. This rate reflects the percentage of JWU graduates who secure full or part-time employment, are enrolled/accepted in a program of study to continue their education, are performing voluntary service, or enlist in military service within six months of graduation. The JWU rate is 11% higher than the national average.

Care to know more?

Be sure to read through Johnson & Wales University's full-text version of the 2020­–2021 Annual Report, Connected by Purpose.

Sustained by community

The generosity of alumni, faculty, staff, parents, students and friends of the university is what sustains us year after year. Together, we will give rise to a bold new era of academic excellence and achievement. To recognize our supporters for their generosity, we’ve established a family of giving societies.


Johnson & Wales recognizes donors whose previous 10 years of charitable giving have elevated the university. Each circle consists of individual and corporate donors who believe in the JWU mission and provide the resources to make our ambitious plans a reality.

A breakdown of JWU’s emerging Giving Circles. The university is excited to see these efforts flourish.


The 1914 Society recognizes individuals who plan to leave a legacy at JWU by including the university in their estate planning. Gifts that have been realized as well as those that are planned are recognized.

“Contributions have helped me get through school with vastly less financial stress and I am extremely grateful.”


“It is very comforting to be helped when it is needed the most. Thank you for your monetary support. Without it, I would not be able to achieve my dreams.”



The Epicurean Society was established in Charlotte in 2008 and in Providence in 2015. Through a membership fee, donors enjoy two annual culinary experiences. Events, led by guest chefs who are assisted by JWU students and faculty, include culinary demonstrations, receptions, seated dinners, and cocktail gatherings. Your membership enables you to be part of unforgettable culinary experiences where you and your guest will learn about inventive cuisine and fine wine pairings. Additionally, your membership will provide scholarship support to JWU students. To date, members have collectively provided scholarships to 59 hard-working and dedicated students who will become future leaders in their industry.


The Mary & Gertrude Society was established in the names of our founders, Gertrude I. Johnson and Mary T. Wales, who in 1914 had the courage and vision to create Johnson & Wales. More than a century later, we are proud to honor them by recognizing our loyal donors who have supported the university for three or more consecutive years. Each year, gifts to JWU help provide the stability and flexibility needed to give rise to a new era of innovation and ambitious advancements in academics.

JWU Emergency Fund

Like so many others, our students and their families are faced with financial uncertainty. During these extraordinary times, you can support urgent student needs through the JWU Emergency Fund. Your gift helps provide technology resources; assistance with unplanned travel, moving and housing expenses; and tuition relief that enables students to remain enrolled at JWU despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Student Experience

At Johnson & Wales, experience is the difference. And we’ve been perfecting the experiential education approach for more than 100 years. It’s woven into all aspects of our education, in and out of the classroom. Internships, student organizations, clubs and campus programming all contribute to an industry-focused education that prepares the leaders of tomorrow. You can direct your support to an area that is uniquely JWU and ensure all students have access to these opportunities.


Win at everything. That’s the motto of our student-athletes. JWU Athletics unites our campus communities and our varsity and club teams to compete with the same passion our students bring to their academic pursuits. On the field, the court, the mat and the pitch, student-athletes represent the four tenets of the Wildcat Way: Pride, Character, Courage and Community.

College & Academics

With six colleges preparing students for success in countless industries, Johnson & Wales’ renowned experiential education approach is applied across a variety of disciplines. When it comes to supporting Wildcats in the classroom and in labs, the choice is yours. Each college relies on the support of alumni, corporate sponsors and donors who believe in our mission and our students. Your gift will be used to support the specific needs of the college or program of your choice.

Scholarships & Financial Aid

Did you know that more than 90% of JWU students receive a scholarship or financial aid of some kind? Despite our tuition is more affordable than most similar institutions, many deserving Wildcats still struggle to fund their JWU education. Your gift can open doors and a whole new world of opportunities. Whether you establish an endowed scholarship fund or combine your gift with thousands of others to meet the growing need for financial aid, you have the power to change lives.


Leading By Example

“Helping to contribute to an academic scholarship is the least I can do…So many students have inspired me.”

100% of JWU's


Johnson & Wales University’s senior leaders set an example for the community—fostering a sense of collective impact.

Connected by Purpose