The Columns

Jerry Greenfield, of Ben & Jerry's Fame, to Speak at W&L

— by on March 20th, 2015

Jerry Greenfield, of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream fame, will speak at Washington and Lee University on March 23 at 7 p.m. in Evans Hall. The event, sponsored by Contact, is co-sponsored by the J. Lawrence Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship, the Office of Sustainability and the Office of Student Affairs.

Greenfield will speak on his experience with the business and their good-business practice model. There will be a free Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream reception following the event. Ticket information will be posted on the Contact Committee’s Facebook page. For more information, contact David Thomas at thomasd15@mail.wlu.edu.

Greenfield and Ben Cohen opened the first Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop in a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont, in 1978. It was a hit, and within five years franchises sprang up. In 2000, the pair sold their ice cream business for $325 million, but Greenfield remains active in the company.

Greenfield always made sure it was fun to work at Ben & Jerry’s. His famous words “If it’s not fun, why do it?” were memorialized on a bumper sticker you still see around Vermont. Like Cohen, Greenfield wanted to make great ice cream, treat employees well and give back to the community.

In 1986, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream built a manufacturing plant in Waterbury, Vermont, going public and donating 7.5 percent of the company’s earnings to the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, a nonprofit they formed to benefit various causes. Cohen and Greenfield remain active as the public faces and moral identity of the corporation.

Beyond his continuing work with Ben & Jerry’s, Greenfield is involved with the Institute for Sustainable Communities, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and TrueMajority, a progressive advocacy group in the U.S.