Students to Compete in Levitetz Pitch Competition

Jeff Levitetz give $1 million to support a new leadership program in New College.
The Levitetz Leadership Program, established from a $1 million gift from alumnus Jeff Levitetz, launches Thursday, Feb. 28 with a pitch competition in which students will compete for a grand prize to fund their business ideas.

From the February 2019 Desktop News | On February 28, students will pitch their best ideas to a panel of diverse judges during the first annual Levitetz Pitch Competition. The 20 students selected, who have already received grants ranging from $100 to $1,000, will compete for a grand prize of $3,000. Each project has a unique mission, from mobile apps allowing users to make monetary donations to food banks, to a podcast featuring local stories from all 67 Alabama counties, to a mentoring program for students in the Tuscaloosa Detention Center.

The panel of judges has been hand-selected to represent different industries and backgrounds. This year’s judges include Hunter Adams,an intellectual property attorney and founder of Adams IP; Ryan “Kadesh Flow” Davis, a Billboard charting rapper, trombonist, and producer and member of the Nerdy People of Color collective; Jeff Levitetz, founder and chairman of Purity Wholesale Grocers and creator of the Levitetz Leadership Program; real estate broker Helen Mills Pittman; Lieutenant Colonel Jack Robbins, who owned and operated Super Sports; Jim Trotter, director of sponsorship sales for Live Nation; Ashley Waid, CEO of the Tuscaloosa YMCA; and Jim Zeanah, former Chief Technology Officer and Director of Development at the Citicorp subsidiary Transaction Technology.

The pitch competition will begin at 2 p.m. Thursday with a small grant presentation by each student. Presentations will be held from 2-5 p.m. in the Ferguson Center rooms 3114 and 3115. A final round of competition will follow in which two students will compete for the grand prize at 6:30 in Smith Hall, followed by an evening reception and awards ceremony.

The competition is funded by the Levitetz Leadership Program, established as a gift from New College alumnus and pitch competition judge Jeff Levitetz. The program provides scholarships, internship stipends, workshops, lectures, and innovation grants to students in New College, an interdisciplinary department in the College of Arts and Sciences where students can create their own major. The Levitetz Leadership Program will officially launch during the event with a celebration at 5:30 p.m. in Smith Hall’s Grand Gallery.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. Natalie Adams at