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Stonyfield Yogurt CE-Yo 2009 Commencement Speaker

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
February 25, 2009

Gary Hirshberg

Gary Hirshberg, president and CE-Yo of Stonyfield Farm, makers of organic yogurt, will be the keynote speaker at UNH’s 139th commencement on Saturday, May 23.

The author of  “Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World” (Hyperion Books, January, 2008), Hirshberg is a world-renowned speaker on topics including sustainability, climate change, the profitability of green business, organic agriculture, socially responsible business and sustainable economic development.

For the past 26 years, Hirshberg has overseen Stonyfield Farm, which has grown from a seven-cow organic farming school to a $320 million business. The Londonderry-based company has experienced a compounded annual growth rate of more than 24 percent for more than 18 years.

In 2005, Stonyfield Farm provided cornerstone support for UNH’s organic dairy research farm, the first in the country at a land-grant university.

“Sustainability is a part of everything we do at UNH and this year’s ceremony will be a celebration of that fact as well as the achievements of our graduates,” said President Mark W. Huddleston. “For nearly three decades Gary Hirshberg – through Stonyfield Yogurt -- has been committed to responsible environmental stewardship and the development of a sustainable agricultural system. I believe that Gary’s leadership and vision make him an ideal choice for this year’s commencement speaker.”

Stonyfield Farm entered into a partnership with Groupe Danone in 2001, and in 2005, Hirshberg was named managing director of Stonyfield Europe, a joint venture between the two firms with brands in Canada, Ireland, and France.

A New Hampshire native, Hirshberg was one of the first graduates of Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass. He has received seven honorary doctorates and was named a Gordon Grand Fellow at Yale University.

Hirshberg joined Stonyfield Farm shortly after its founding in 1983. Initially, he directed the Rural Education Center, the small organic farming school from which Stonyfield was spawned. Previously, in addition to serving as a trustee of the farming school, Hirshberg had served as executive director of The New Alchemy Institute, a research and education center dedicated to organic farming, aquaculture, and renewable energy.

Hirshberg has won numerous awards for corporate and environmental leadership, including Global Green USA’s 1999 Green Cross Millennium Award for Corporate Environmental Leadership. He was named business leader of the year by Business N.H. Magazine and New Hampshire’s 1998 small business person of the year by the United States Small Business Administration.

Currently Hirshberg serves on several corporate and non-profit boards, including Applegate Farms, the Dannon Company, Honest Tea, Peak Organic Brewing Company, The Full Yield, Climate Counts, Express Soccer Club, Stonyfield Europe, Ltd., Glenisk, Ltd and the Danone Communities Fund.

He is the chairman and co-founder of O’Naturals, a natural fast food restaurant company.  He served on the advisory panel for Newsweek magazine’s Global Environmental Leadership Conference and as an advisor to Renewal Partners LLC, Solera Capital, the Heinz Center Leadership Summit and the Corporate Ecoforum.

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