Chobani Founder Delivers Commencement Address at CIA
Hamdi Ulukaya Created
$1 Billion Company in Just Five Years
Hyde Park, NY – Hamdi Ulukaya is the founder, president, and CEO of Chobani,
building a $1 billion business in just five years—during a major recession. His
success earned him the moniker "the Steve Jobs of yogurt" by Forbes in 2011. Mr. Ulukaya, 40, shared
his business acumen and philosophy for success during the baccalaureate
commencement ceremony at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park,
NY on Wednesday, May 22.
"As you go through your career, if you can touch just one
person's life in a positive way, then you've performed a miracle," Ulukaya advised
71 recipients of bachelor's degrees in culinary arts management and baking and
pastry arts management.
"It's not about the money or fame," said Ulukaya, whose family
had a dairy business in his native Turkey. "It's about the joy of the journey.
Trust yourself and this journey will be the most amazing one."
His journey brought him to the U.S. in 1994 to study
business and learn English. He earned his MBA from the State University of New York
at Albany, then created Euphrates Feta. In 2005,
Ulukaya founded New York State-based Chobani, now the top-selling Greek yogurt
brand in America.
To produce the authentic strained Greek yogurt, Chobani uses
more than 25 million gallons of milk a week—a great economic boost to New York
State's dairy farmers. Chobani's facility in Chenango County is the biggest
milk processing plant east of the Mississippi.
CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan told graduates that Mr. Ulukaya's
story shows the American Dream is still within reach for those with a vision
and work ethic. "America is the land of opportunity, and the food world is the
industry of opportunity," said Dr. Ryan.
The commencement ceremony took place on the 67th anniversary
of the founding of the college. The first classes of what would become The
Culinary Institute of America were held on May 22, 1946 in New Haven, CT.
Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image
Chobani founder, president, and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya offers advice to bachelor's degree recipients during
commencement ceremonies at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY
on May 22, 2013. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil
View hi-res image >
Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is an independent,
not-for-profit college offering associate and bachelor's degrees with majors in
culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and culinary science, as well as
certificate programs in culinary arts and wine and beverage studies. As the
world's premier culinary college, the CIA provides thought leadership in the
areas of health & wellness, sustainability, and world cuisines &
cultures through research and conferences. The CIA has a network of 45,000
alumni that includes industry leaders such as Grant Achatz,
Anthony Bourdain, Roy Choi, Cat Cora, Dan Coudreaut, Steve Ells, Johnny Iuzzini,
Charlie Palmer, and Roy Yamaguchi. The CIA also offers courses for
professionals and enthusiasts, as well as consulting services in support of
innovation for the foodservice and hospitality industry. The college has
campuses in Hyde Park, NY; St. Helena, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Singapore.
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