Founder of Purity Wholesale Grocers to Deliver Mills Lecture at UA

  • August 27th, 2010

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Jeffrey A. Levitetz, founder and chair of Purity Wholesale Grocers Inc. and an alumnus of The University of Alabama, will present the Helen Crow Mills and John Carroll Mills Lecture Sept. 10 at 10 a.m. in room 328 of Lloyd Hall on the UA campus.

In his lecture, “Life 30 Years After New College: What I’ve Learned Along the Way and What You Need to Know to Have a Successful Future,” he will talk about his belief that hard work and integrity will ultimately result in success. The lecture is open to the public.

The lectureship was established and endowed in UA’s College of Arts and Sciences by Mrs. Helen Crow Mills and the late Dr. John Mills of Birmingham to bring successful and distinguished alumni and citizens to campus to speak as a way to motivate and inspire students.

Levitetz, a 1980 alumnus, raised $10,000 for cancer research by performing 10,000 consecutive sit-ups while a student in UA’s New College. Also while at the Capstone, he borrowed $300 and turned it into a successful business venture, University Marketing.

He founded Purity Wholesale Grocers Inc. in 1982. Born as a small, independent company in the Midwest, Purity Wholesale Grocers has become a nationwide network of companies with headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla.

The Purity companies specialize in products ranging from frozen food to health and beauty care, dairy, dry goods and candy. Purity holds a significant share of the annual $5 billion industry, is one of the largest private companies in Florida and one of the largest wholesalers in the country.

Levitetz also is known for his numerous contributions to the sport of wrestling. He is a member of USA Wrestling’s board of directors and also is involved with the Gator Wrestling Club, which trains and supports talented senior-level wrestlers.

He was named as an Outstanding American by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2004, he was the team leader of the U.S. Olympic wrestling team for Greco-Roman wrestling at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. The same year, he was named Man of the Year by USA Wresting, the national governing body for amateur wrestling.

Levitetz founded Handshake University, a school for youth development, and the Boca Raton Wrestling Club in Florida, a youth wrestling organization. He wrestled at Deerfield High School in Illinois and competed in the sport at UA.

Levitetz’s lecture is the third in the lectureship series established by the Mills.

Helen Mills received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Human and Environmental Sciences at UA in 1959. She is president of Crow Real Estate and Insurance Co. in Birmingham and a longtime member of the Leadership Board of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences.

John Mills received his bachelor’s degree in pre-dental studies from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1955 and a dentistry degree from UA’s School of Dentistry in Birmingham in 1958. He practiced endodontics for 29 years and was a diplomat of the American Board of Endodontics. Mills was a pioneer in endodontics in Alabama and the only board certified endodontist in private practice in Alabama for many years. After leaving private practice, Mills became director of the endodontic program at UA’s School of Dentistry in Birmingham. He died Jan. 19, 2007, in Birmingham.

UA’s College of Arts and Sciences is the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.


Angie Estes, Communications Specialist, College of Arts and Sciences, 205-348-8539

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.