Sheila Johnson to speak at UR commencement
3/31/2017, 2:04 a.m.
Sheila Johnson, founding partner of Black Entertainment Television and founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, will deliver the main commencement address this year at the University of Richmond.
The ceremony will take place 2 p.m. Sunday, May 7, at the Robins Center on the UR campus.
Ms. Johnson’s business career began when she and her ex-husband, Robert L. Johnson, founded BET in 1980. BET was purchased by Viacom Inc. in 1999.
She also was executive producer of four documentary films and helped finance the feature film “The Butler,” directed by Lee Daniels and starring Forrest Whittaker and Oprah Winfrey.
She began her Northern Virginia-based hospitality company, Salamander Hotels & Resorts, in 2005. One of her properties, Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, was recognized in 2014 by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the Top 10 Resorts in the South and by Travel + Leisure as one of the World’s Greatest Hotels.
Ms. Johnson is the first African-American woman to be an owner or partner of three professional sports franchises — the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League, the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.