Chobani Founder Speaks to Graduates

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 shared his philosophy for success during the baccalaureate commencement in Hyde Park on May 22.  

“It’s not about the money or fame,” Ulukaya told 71 recipients of bachelor’s degrees in culinary arts management and baking and pastry arts management. “It’s about the joy of the journey. Trust yourself and this journey will be the most amazing one.”

 His journey brought him from Turkey to the U.S. to study business and learn English. He earned his MBA from the State University of New York at Albany. In 2005, Ulukaya founded New York State-based Chobani, now the top-selling Greek yogurt brand in America.

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.

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