Jeni Britton Bauer selected as summer commencement speaker
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University today announced that Jeni Britton Bauer, founder and chief creative officer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, will address graduates as speaker for the summer commencement. Approximately 1,500 degrees will be awarded during the ceremony, which begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 7, in the Schottenstein Center.
Before she began making ice creams, Britton Bauer studied art and art history at Ohio State, worked as a student employee at the Wexner Center for the Arts, worked in a bakery, and had a serious hobby blending perfumes and collecting essential oils. It was the perfect foundation for a would-be ice cream maker.
Britton Bauer left college to open her first store in 1996: Scream Ice Cream in Columbus’ North Market. She opened Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in 2002.
Her ahead-of-the-trend vision – using whole ingredients and dairy from Ohio grass-pastured cows, rather than synthetic flavorings and commodity ice cream mix – coupled with inspired flavors sparked the artisan ice cream movement more than a decade before it would become a top food trend.
“We are honored to welcome Jeni Britton Bauer, an Ohio State and hometown favorite, as our upcoming commencement speaker,” said President Michael V. Drake. “As a visionary entrepreneur and business leader, Ms. Britton Bauer will no doubt inspire our graduates to dream big and value innovation in all they do.”
Salty Caramel and other signature flavors anchor a menu that also includes limited-edition flavors inspired by the seasons, pop culture, culinary history and world trends.
Today, her ice creams are served up in 23 “scoop shops” (including locations in Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Charleston and St. Louis) and in more than 1,100 stores across the country.
Britton Bauer is a James Beard Award-winning author of two cookbooks, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts and has been recognized by Fast Company as one of the most creative people in business.
In addition, Britton Bauer devotes time to Local Matters (the fresh-food-for-all Columbus based non-profit she co-founded), serves on the boards of the Wexner Center for the Arts and Columbus College of Art & Design, and spends time with her husband and two children at their Columbus home.
Also during the ceremony, the university will bestow the Distinguished Service Award to Raimund E. Goerler, retired university archivist and author of The Ohio State University – An Illustrated History, and John H. Litchfield, adjunct professor of food science and nutrition.