Presperse CEO Establishes an Endowed Scholarship at HPU

Jul 22nd, 2022

Presperse CEO Establishes an Endowed Scholarship at HPU

The Joy Atkinson and John Atkinson Conlon Endowed Scholarship Will Support Student Success in the Classroom.


HIGH POINT, N.C., July 22, 2022 – High Point University parent, Joy Atkinson of Bluffton, South Carolina, recently established the Joy Atkinson and John Atkinson Conlon Endowed Scholarship. In addition to establishing the scholarship, she has joined the Elizabeth Miller Strickland Women’s Leadership Council.

“I am honored that many in our HPU community, like Joy, believe in our mission, vision and desire to help our students in their pursuit of education,” says HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein. “Named endowments and scholarships allow us the resources to provide financial assistance to students in perpetuity, while also ensuring they are able to remain focused and fully engaged in the classroom.”

HPU Joy Atkinson
Pictured is HPU parent, Joy Atkinson, of Bluffton, South Carolina. She recently established the Joy Atkinson and John Atkinson Conlon Endowed Scholarship at HPU.

Atkinson is the mother of two children, Kylie and Jack. Jack is a rising senior strategic management major at High Point University and Kylie is a rising sophomore at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. As a student, Jack enjoys having the ability to explore new and engaging topics through his classes, while building his portfolio of skills and experiences as a leader.

“Throughout my career, I have learned that I was privileged to have my leadership abilities recognized and cultivated early on,” says Atkinson. “I am excited that my son attends a university where leadership is taught as an essential life skill and supported through a combination of classroom experiences and real-world scenarios. By supporting students and their education at HPU, I believe that I am helping empower the next generation of extraordinary leaders.”

Atkinson is the president and CEO of Presperse, a cosmetic ingredients company. Based in New Jersey, Presperse, one of the 900 independent companies owned by the Sumitomo Corporation, is the only United States-based company run by a female CEO, though Atkinson hopes many others will follow suit. As a high school student, Atkinson had a strong interest in finance and banking, and at 16, she worked part-time at a local bank in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from Georgia State University in 1983 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in business management and planned to join the bank full-time. After consideration, she decided to leave the bank and join the JCPenney Management Training program, where she was first exposed to the cosmetic and fragrance industry. With her background in finance, Atkinson joined Rich’s Department Stores and moved through several positions, eventually becoming a buyer of men’s fragrances and cosmetic accessories.

Over the years, Atkinson has progressed through several international cosmetic and fragrance companies including Tsumura International, Symrise and Firmenich before she took her current role with Presperse. In addition to her corporate positions, she has served on several cosmetic industry boards as well as her alma mater’s WomenLead program at the Mack Robinson College of Business.

For more information about how you can make a difference with an endowed fund, please contact Chris Dudley, Senior Vice President for Development, at cdudley@highpoint.edu or McKennon Shea, Associate Vice President for Development, at mckennon@highpoint.edu.