Jerry Greenfield, one half of the team behind one of the most talked about and least conventional success stories in American business, will be the next Festival of Ideas speaker at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 15, in WVU s Mountainlair ballrooms.

A complete Festival of Ideas schedule is online

Founders of Ben&Jerrys Homemade, Inc., Greenfield and partner Ben Cohen have built a storefront venture into a $160 million ice cream venture by making social responsibility and creative management strengths instead of weaknesses.

With their bestseller, Ben&Jerrys Double-Dip: Lead with Your Values and Make Money, Too, they have created a basic guidebook to the promise and pitfalls of”values-led”business and an inspiring wake-up call about the growing international influence of the”socially conscious”or”mission driven”corporation.

Greenfield and Cohen were both born in Brooklyn, NY. They met in junior high school and remained close friends through high school graduation. After a brief separation, they reunited in 1977 to fulfill a mutual business dream: running a food business.

After some research and a $5 PennState correspondence course in ice-cream making, they opened Ben&Jerrys Homemade ice cream parlor in Burlington, Vt. in 1978 and quickly became famous for their rich, unusual flavors and community-oriented approach to business.

Today a model for American business success, Cohen and Greenfield have been recognized for fostering a company commitment to social responsibility by the Council on Economic Priorities, which awarded them the Corporate Giving Award in 1988 for donating 7.5 percent of their pre-tax profits to non-profit organizations like the Ben&Jerrys Foundation.

The U.S. Small Business Administration also named them U.S. Small Business Persons of the year in 1988 in a White House ceremony hosted by President Ronald Reagan.

Greenfield and Cohen also received the James Beard Humanitarians of the Year Award and the PeaceMuseums Community Peacemakers of the Year Award.

They also are active in the Social Venture Network and the Businesses for Social Responsibility, among other boards.

The next talk in this years series will be presented by world-famous tenor Ronan Tynan at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 19, in the CAC ballrooms.

Earlier this week, renowned poet and author Maya Angelou spoke in the Mountainlair ballrooms.

All Festival of Ideas events are free, produced by WVU students and open to the public. Call 304-293-8221 for more information.