Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

Hamdi  Ulukaya 
Doctor of Humane Letters  2019
Status: conferred

Hamdi Ulukaya is founder, chair and CEO of Chobani, one of the fastest-growing food companies in the last decade and a pioneer in the natural food movement.

Raised in a Kurdish dairy-farming family in a small village in eastern Turkey, Ulukaya launched Chobani in 2007 in the United States with the mission and vision of making better food more accessible. In less than five years, Chobani became the best-selling Greek yogurt brand in the U.S. with more than $1 billion in annual sales. He implemented a profit-sharing program in 2016 with 2000 Chobani employees in New York and Idaho.

As a humanitarian, Ulukaya founded the Tent Partnership for Refugees to mobilize the private sector to improve the lives and livelihoods of refugees around the globe. He signed its Giving Pledge and committed the majority of his personal wealth to this cause. For these efforts, he received the 2015 United Nations Foundation Global Leadership Award and was named an eminent advocate in 2016 by the United Nations Refugee Agency, among other recognitions. In 2017, TIME magazine named Ulukaya one of its 100 Most Influential People.

Ulukaya serves on the board of the Pathfinder Village and the American Turkish Council. Most recently, Ulukaya became a member of the B Team, a collective of global leaders working to inspire dialogue and business action for a fairer, greener and more human economy.

For his work as a humanitarian and as an inspiring global leader, Southern Methodist University is honored to confer the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.