Ben & Jerry to Deliver Advice--and Ice Cream--at IC Commencement

05/14/2003

Contributed by Maureen Forrest

Ben and Jerry
The founders of a company that has come to epitomize doing good while doing well will deliver the main address at Ithaca College's 108th Commencement on Sunday, May 18. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield--better known as simply Ben & Jerry--will speak to some 1,350 graduates and their guests.

As they do at all of their speaking engagements, Ben & Jerry will provide free ice cream for those attending the event. "Peace Pops" ice cream bars will be served at receptions following the ceremony.

Also speaking at Commencement will be Ithaca College president Peggy R. Williams, senior class president Maureen Devine, and chairman of the board of trustees William Haines. The academic procession will form at 9:00 a.m., with the ceremony at Butterfield Stadium to begin at 10:00 a.m. Guests are encouraged to be seated by 9:15 a.m.

In 1978 -- armed with a little bit of research and a $5 correspondence course in ice cream making -- Cohen and Greenfield founded Ben and Jerry's Homemade in a converted gas station in Burlington, Vermont. Dubbed "Vermont's Finest," the dairy treats soon became popular for innovative flavors with innovative names, including Cherry Garcia, Rainforest Crunch, Phish Food, and Chunky Monkey.

While Ben and Jerry's grew into a multimillion-dollar business, it also developed a mission statement linking its prosperity to actively working to improve the quality of life on the local, national, and international levels. The company gives away over $1.1 million annually, much of it through the Ben and Jerry's Foundation, which is managed by a nine-member employee board and considers proposals relating to social, economic, and environmental justice issues.

Among other honors, Cohen and Greenfield have been named U.S. small businesspersons of the year, James Beard humanitarians of the year, and community peacemakers of the year. In 1998 they provided an inside look at the secrets of their success in their book Ben & Jerry's Double-Dip: How to Run a Values-Led Business and Make Money, Too.

For more information on the Ithaca College Commencement ceremony, which will be webcast live via streaming video, see: 108th Commencement.

Contributed by Dave Maley

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