September 19, 2018

Scooping Out Wisdom: Ben and Jerry Come to Adelphi to Discuss “Entrepreneurial Spirit, Social Responsibility and Radical Business Philosophy”

On September 12, 2018, Adelphi students, faculty, staff, alumni, members of the surrounding communities, and alumni of Sanford H. Calhoun High School in Merrick, New York, crowded into the Adelphi University Performing Arts Center (Adelphi PAC) to hear the wit, wisdom and stories of two local heroes, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and founders of one of the world’s most beloved companies, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc.: Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.

According to Steve Everett, D.M.A., provost and executive vice president, Cohen and Greenfield were a perfect fit for Adelphi, which espouses the same values of making a positive difference in the world.

Cohen and Greenfield began the evening by sharing how their friendship formed in junior high school in Merrick, and later, after being rejected from medical school (Greenfield) and dropping out of a number of colleges (Cohen), they decided their goal was, as Greenfield put it, “to be our own bosses and have fun.”

Through hard work, a few lucky breaks, resilience, and a lot of creativity and marketing savvy, Ben & Jerry’s grew from one ice cream parlor to a major player in the premium ice cream category. But success didn’t change the founders’ commitment to making a positive difference in the world. They remained committed to sustainable business practices, promoting social justice and environmental causes, and helping their local Vermont community. They formed the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation, which receives 7.5 percent of Ben & Jerry Homemade’s pretax profits.

“Business is the most powerful source in our society,” said Greenfield. “We are all interconnected. As we help others, we cannot avoid helping ourselves.”

Although no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of the company, Ben and Jerry continue as brand ambassadors and haven’t stopped advocating for causes they believe in. The men who brought us slogans like “Yo, I’m Your CEO,” and “What’s the Doughboy Afraid of?” encouraged the audience to join them in a “stamp stampede” to get Americans to stamp dollars to protest corporate political donations and voter suppression.

As Cohen said, “Let’s make America kind again.”

There were two more parts to the evening. Before heading to the auditorium, Cohen and Greenfield gave a master class to students in the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business. And following the evening’s main event, attendees gathered in the Adelphi PAC lobby to enjoy—what else?—Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

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About Adelphi: A modern metropolitan university with a personalized approach to higher learning.

Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

Recognized as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. It serves more than 8,100 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, as well as online.

More than 115,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.

For further information, please contact:

Todd Wilson
Strategic Communications Director 
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