Delaware Valley University to Honor White Dog Cafe Founder and Sustainable Business Leader Judy Wicks
Sep 12, 2018
Delaware Valley University will honor author, entrepreneur and activist Judy Wicks with a Krauskopf Medal in recognition of her impact on the business community and her efforts to promote more sustainable and responsible business practices. Wicks will visit the campus library to meet with community guests and students on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 3 p.m. before receiving the medal at a private off-campus event that evening. To celebrate Wicks, the University will be giving away free copies of her book “Good Morning, Beautiful Business,” to the first 25 guests at the meet and greet. The meet and greet is open to the public and guests do not need to register in advance.
The Krauskopf Medal, named in honor of DelVal’s founder, Dr. Joseph Krauskopf, was created to celebrate those who make positive change in the world.
“Judy is someone who will inspire many of our students, as well as our campus community and partners,” said DelVal President Dr. Maria Gallo. “She has shown that businesses can thrive while embracing practices that leave the world better for future generations. We’re honored to welcome Judy to campus as we celebrate her accomplishments as a leader of change.”
Wicks, an author, activist and entrepreneur, founded Philadelphia’s iconic White Dog Cafe in 1983, a pioneer in the farm-to-table movement. The 200-seat restaurant was a model in sustainable and responsible business practices such as composting, solar heated hot water, and purchasing 100 percent of electricity from renewable sources, the first business in Pennsylvania to do so. In 2009, Wicks sold the company through a unique exit strategy that preserves White Dog’s sustainable business practices and maintains local, independent ownership for 15 years.
Wicks has founded several nonprofits, including Fair Food Philly (2000), a project to connect local farms to the urban marketplace; the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (2001); and the continent-wide Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) (2001).
In her retail career, in 1970, at the age of 23, she co-founded the original Free People’s Store, now known as Urban Outfitters (to which she is no longer affiliated). In 1986, next to the White Dog, she founded Black Cat, which for 20 years featured locally made and fair-trade gifts. In 2015, Wicks founded the Circle of Aunts & Uncles, which provides low-interest microloans, advice and connections to local entrepreneurs without access to family resources. Over $100,000 has been loaned to 12 local entrepreneurs who are helping to build the local economy.
“Good Morning, Beautiful Business: The Unexpected Journey of an Activist Entrepreneur and Local-Economy Pioneer,” Wick’s memoir, won a national gold medal for business leadership. She has earned numerous local and national awards, including the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award, the International Association of Culinary Professionals Humanitarian Award, the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Lifetime Achievement Award, and the SustainPHL Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2016, she was inducted into the University City Science Center’s Innovators Walk of Fame.
This year, to combat climate change, Wicks founded Proud Pennsylvania, a grassroots campaign with a vision for a state that runs on 100 percent renewable energy and prospers from a network of flourishing regional economies that produce food, fiber and fuel locally and sustainably.