The CEO of Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream will present the WSU DeYoung Executive-in-Residence speech at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31, in Smith CUE 203. Hosting the free event is the College of Business and Economics.

Renowned in the business world as an entrepreneur, Gary Rogers told the New York Times in 2004 that he values “the ability to recognize an opportunity.”

In 1977, despite no income, no savings and the experience of one failed business on his resume, Rogers rallied investors and bought Dreyer’s, a small, San Francisco Bay Area ice cream company, for $1 million with his former partner William F. Cronk. Over the past 28 years, with Rogers at its helm, Dreyer’s has expanded its distribution, combined with the Nestlé Ice Cream Company and grown into a $1.5 billion company. Today, it manufactures and distributes a full spectrum of premium and superpremium ice cream and frozen snacks internationally under the brands of Dreyer’s, Edy’s, Häagen-Dazs and Nestlé.

The DeYoung Executive-in-Residence series was begun in 1973 to bring to campus prominent business leaders. Support for the program is provided by the family of Dennis DeYoung, a 1968 graduate of the College’s Hospitality Business Management program and a partner in Grand Slam Licensing, Inc., in Woodinville.