Key Quotes from New York’s Partner Family Forum announcing Starbucks College Achievement Plan

Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and ceo

“This is a monumental, historic moment in time for our company. As you might imagine, I have been to thousands of Starbucks meetings over the past 34 years. This meeting, I think, above all else defines who we are as a company, what we believe in.”

“I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would one day be a part of a company that really did put people first.”

“Today’s announcement, in many ways, is threaded into the history of Starbucks – the history of trying to build a company with a conscience.”

“I’m asked, constantly, what is the reason for Starbucks success? I say it directly. We’re sourcing and roasting the highest quality in the world. We have the largest real estate portfolio of anyone you can imagine. Our stores are designed perfectly. The proof of what we do is in the cup, but all of that pales in comparison to the fact that we’ve been quintessentially a brand and company defined by humanity and the human experience and what happens in our stores. And that is everyone who wears the green apron. The equity of the Starbucks brand, the reputation, the reservoir of trust, everything has been defined by you.”

“We as a company want to do something that has not been done before. That is, we want to create access to the American Dream, hope and opportunity for everybody.”

“This (Starbucks College Achievement Plan) is about the future of our company. We can’t build a great company and we can’t build a great enduring country if we are constantly leaving people behind. So this is an opportunity for the conscience of Starbucks to come through.”

“We’re bringing people on our journey and demonstrating day in and day out that success is best when it’s shared.”

Dr. Michael Crow, Arizona State University President

“We live in a society that has been imperfect in its allocation of opportunity. If you come from a family of the upper quartile of income, you’ll have an 80 percent chance of attaining a college degree – regardless of your academic ability. If you’re in the bottom 25 percent of family incomes, you have a 9 percent chance of getting a college degree.”

“We have one objective for those of you (partners) who will become ASU students. Our objective is to work with Starbucks, but we’re not here to please Starbucks. We’re here for your success. We’re here so that you cannot be held back.”

“This is an opportunistic moment for you if you’re working for Starbucks. A great and highly innovative corporation is coming together with a deeply committed public university to find a way to advance your educational opportunities.”

Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

“We’re now in a knowledge-based economy, a global economy, and the high-skill jobs are going to the countries with the best educated workforce. We all desperately want that to be here in the United States.”

“We used to lead the world in college graduation rates. We used to be number one, today we’re 12th. That’s not something any of us are proud of. The President has challenged us to lead the world in college graduation rates again by 2020. How are we going to get there? We’ll get there with you (partners) going back to college. You have to lead the country where it needs to go.”

“What does this (Starbucks College Achievement Plan) mean for another 50, for other 100 or 150 companies across the country? What kind of example in leadership can Starbucks provide? Where are the other CEOs who have Howard Schultz’s heart and passion? Where are the other universities that are going to step up and partner?”