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Bert and John Jacobs, Co-Founders of the Life is good Company, Deliver Commencement Address at 94th Annual Bentley University Ceremony, May 18, 2013
Bert and John Jacobs, co-founders of The Life is good Company, the Boston-based lifestyle brand, will deliver the commencement address to approximately 1,000 Bentley University undergraduate students on Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. on the south campus of Bentley University, with an expected 7,000 in attendance.
The Jacobs brothers, who will each receive an honorary doctor of commercial science degree at the ceremony, have created a lifestyle brand that spreads the power of optimism and helps kids in need by donating 10% of its net profits to The Life is good Kids Foundation. To date, the company with a positive purpose has raised over $9.5 million for kids in need -- principally through the annual Life is good Festival, Life is good products and other fundraising efforts.
“This day is such an important one in the lives of our students and their families,” says Bentley University President Gloria Larson. “We are thrilled that Bert and John will be able to share their refreshing perspective on life and business with our graduating seniors and their guests. Their ability to combine their personal passions with commercial success and altruism is truly inspiring.”
Bert and John Jacobs
Bert and John Jacobs are co-founders and Chief Executive Optimist and Chief Creative Optimist, respectively, of The Life is good Company. Jake, Life is good’s iconic hero with the contagious smile, teaches men, women and kids that optimism is fun, healthy, and empowering.
In 1989 the Jacobs brothers designed their first T-shirts. They began selling their designs on the streets of Boston out of an old van at colleges and fairs along the East Coast of the United States. In 1994, following a not-so-successful road trip and a combined sum of just $78 in the bank, they returned to Boston, unsure of the future of their business. After gathering friends at their apartment to share stories and ask for comments on their new drawings and sayings, one image received considerable favorable attention: the beret-wearing, smiling stick figure and the phrase "Life is good." The brothers named the character Jake and printed up 48 shirts. At a street fair in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the shirts sold out in less than an hour. They began to sell shirts and hats featuring Jake in local stores and the demand for the merchandise grew quickly, as did national recognition of the brand.
Life is good expanded its product lines from T-shirts and caps into a lifestyle brand that features optimistic apparel and accessories focused on positive messages and emphasizing simplicity, humor and humility. Today, Life is good products are sold by over 3,500 retailers nationwide, 6 company-owned stores and on Lifeisgood.com. The innovative company focuses on forging meaningful, emotional connections, and relies heavily on its community of Optimists to help spread the power of optimism.
Life is good also holds an annual two-day celebration of music and optimism, The Life is good Festival, which raises money for kids in need. The Festival features three stages of nationally-known musical talent, hands-on games and interactive arts activities. More importantly, the Festival is a one-of-a-kind fundraiser for The Life is good Kids Foundation and creates a community of fundraisers. The Life is good Kids Foundation receives 100 percent of the funds raised at the Life is good Festival.
After graduating from Villanova University in 1987 with a degree in Communications, Bert worked as a ski instructor, pizza delivery man, and substitute teacher. John graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1990 with dual degrees in English and Art. He began designing and selling T-shirts after college and also worked as a substitute teacher to supplement his income during Life is good’s infancy. Bert and John are the youngest of six siblings from Needham, Massachusetts and they credit their mother with teaching them to face the bumps in the road with a smile. The Jacobs brothers see simplicity, humility and a sense of humor as the three keys to Life is good’s continued success.
Commencement 2013 takes place on the south campus at Bentley University. The undergraduate ceremony is held under the tent on the football field. Indoor viewing on a large monitor is available in the Dana Athletic Center. The event is held rain or shine. Buses will run from the parking lots on the main campus to the south campus. Further details on Commencement 2013 can be found on the Bentley University commencement web site: http://www.bentley.edu/events/commencement
About Life is good
Life is good® spreads the power of optimism and helps kids in need by donating 10 percent of its net profits to The Life is good Kids Foundation. The company with a Positive Purpose has raised over $9.5 million for kids in need to date, principally through Life is good products, the annual Life is good Festival, and community fundraising efforts. Please visit Lifeisgood.com for more details and spread optimism with #PositivePurpose. Life is good® is a registered trademark of The Life is good Company.
About The Life is good Kids Foundation
The Life is good Kids Foundation is an accredited 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established by Life is good to raise money to help kids in need. The Life is good Kids Foundation directly funds the Life is good Playmakers program, which provides training and support to childcare professionals who use these tools to ensure that children grow up feeling safe, loved and joyful. Life is good donates 10 percent of its net profits to help kids in need through The Life is good Kids Foundation. For more information, visit Lifeisgood.com.
The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.