Wisconsin foodies Culver and Viglietti headline Ripon College Commencement Sunday

The co-founder of the popular Culver’s restaurant chain, Craig Culver, will provide the Commencement address at Ripon College’s 151st Commencement ceremony Sunday.

Each year, the College organizes Commencement activities around a theme. The 2017 Commencement theme celebrates “Wisconsin Food and Entrepreneurship” by recognizing the commitment to food that contributes to the state’s distinctive identity.

“Craig Culver is true Wisconsin-made success that has gone national,” says Zach Messitte, president of Ripon College. “A generation of Ripon students have enjoyed their fair share of custard and ButterBurgers. “Craig also has played a key role as mentor to his franchisees and their team members as well as several Ripon graduates who have followed the entrepreneurial path and opened successful businesses in the greater Ripon-Green Lake area.”

Culver and Stefano Viglietti, a self-taught chef and entrepreneur from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, each will receive honorary degrees for their outstanding contributions to food culture as Wisconsin restaurateurs and small business owners.

“Stefano Viglietti’s restaurants in Sheboygan are a revelation to anyone who cares about great food from local sources,” Messitte said. “He magically combines the best meats, cheeses and produce from Wisconsin with family recipes from Italy, new takes on classic breakfast food and old English pub fare. He is someone who is following his passion, and it shows in the thousands of devoted diners who come from hundreds of miles away to eat at his restaurants.”

Wisconsin has its own distinct food culture, and agriculture represents a significant part of the state’s economy. The Dairy State is known internationally for its cheeses, but its rich culinary tradition extends far beyond cheddars and creams. Wisconsin is world-famous for brats, craft beers, kringles, cheese curds, custards, fish frys, Door County cherry pies, cranberries, whitefish boils, supper clubs, ButterBurgers, and brandy old fashioneds. Restaurants and dinner tables the world over draw from Wisconsin’s rich farming heritage, and the state’s restaurants are some of the finest in the country.

The honorees will participate in a panel discussion about “Wisconsin Food and Entrepreneurship” during a Commencement Brunch and Forum starting at 10 a.m. Sunday. The Commencement ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m. on the lawn of Harwood Memorial Union.

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