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Monmouth University Names Peter Cancro, Founder and CEO of Jersey Mike’s, “Distinguished Business Leader” for 2014

Monmouth University honors Peter Cancro as its 2014 Distinguished Business Leader at its annual award dinner on Thursday, March 20, at 6 p.m. in Woodrow Wilson Hall on the University’s campus. Cancro is the founder and chief executive officer of Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, operating more than 730 restaurants in 35 states from New Jersey to California.

“We are proud to honor Mr. Cancro for his outstanding corporate and civic leadership,” said Monmouth University President Paul R. Brown. “He is an inspirational role model to our students and the community. In addition to his business success, his philanthropic work has raised millions of dollars for charities nationwide.”  

The award dinner will be held during Jersey Mike’s annual “month of giving” and a few days before Jersey Mike’s national “Day of Giving.”

A 1975 graduate of Point Pleasant Beach High School, Cancro was captain of the football team and class president. He began his business career as a high school student in 1971, working at a local eatery called Mike’s Subs. In March of his senior year, he gave up a potential college football career to buy the sub shop, crediting his football coach and area banker Rod Smith with making his success possible.

In 1987, Cancro changed the name of the original Mike’s Subs to Jersey Mike’s and began expanding the franchise, with a current goal of 1,300 restaurants – both nationally and internationally – within the next few years.

One of the secrets to Cancro’s success is his philosophy of giving. Charities, hospitals, school systems, and numerous individuals have benefited from his support. It’s a philosophy that he has emphasized to every Jersey Mike’s franchise owner: Support the community that supports you.

  • In 2013, Jersey Mike’s raised more than $280,000 for local high schools, hospitals, and organizations as part of fundraisers celebrating the openings of 140 new locations across the country.
  • In March 2013, Jersey Mike’s 3rd Annual “Month of Giving” raised $1.7 million for 86 local charities. Since the program began, Jersey Mike’s has raised more than $3.2 million for local causes.
  • In the fall of 2013, Jersey Mike’s raised more than $300,000 for Wreaths Across America, helping the nonprofit organization lay hundreds of thousands of remembrance wreaths at the headstones of the nation’s veterans during the holiday season.
  • Together with their customers throughout the country, Jersey Mike’s raised more than $100,000 for the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties benefiting victims of superstorm Sandy.

“Peter built his business from the ground up and is now one of the leaders in the franchise industry,” said Donald Moliver, dean of the Leon Hess Business School. “His is a remarkable story of vision, civic leadership, and entrepreneurial spirit that will serve as an inspiration to our students, the future generation of business leaders.” 

For additional information, contact Monmouth University’s office of special events and programs at 732-571-3509.

Background on the Award:

The Distinguished Business Leaders Award was established in 1983 as part of Monmouth University’s 50th anniversary celebration to pay tribute to the important contributions of the business community in the development of this school. For the past 29 years, the award has honored individuals who have made distinctive contributions to the tri-state business community through outstanding corporate and civic leadership. Monmouth University’s Business Council is proud to join the corporate community in celebrating the talents and contributions of these Distinguished Business Leaders and trust that their example will serve as an inspiration to future generations of business leaders. Past honorees include, among others, publishing magnate Malcolm Forbes, Jr.; Marcy Syms, president of Syms Corporation; Lewis M. Eisenberg, chairman of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; John K. Lloyd, president and chief executive officer of Meridian Health; and George Harms, president and chief executive officer of George Harms Construction Company, Inc.