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Posted on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Chelsea Milling Company president to speak at EMU's December commencement

By Katrease Stafford

Eastern Michigan University has announced Howdy S. Holmes, president of Chelsea Milling Company, as its December commencement speaker. At the same ceremony, local philanthropist Phillip Jenkins will be awarded an honorary doctor of education degree.


Chelsea Milling Company President Howdy Holmes

Courtesy EMU

The Board of Regents approved the recommendation at its Oct. 30 meeting.

Holmes is the eighth generation Holmes in the business of flour milling and the third generation to market the company's well-known Jiffy mixes, which were first created by his grandmother in 1930.

Holmes delayed entry into the family business to pursue a 20-year racing career in which he competed six times in the Indianapolis 500.

Holmes retired from racing after the 1988 season and revamped the business. Holmes has one son, Howard S. Holmes II.

Jenkins is from Dexter, where he took over the family farm equipment business, Sweepster, Inc., in 1949.

Sweepster creates self-propelled, airport runway sweepers for all types of equipments used in airports, municipalities and construction.

Jenkins is a longstanding member of the Depression Center's National Advisory Board and has donated numerous large gifts to EMU and the University of Michigan toward treatment and prevention of depression, including $2 million to support the research of a Depression Center scientist and $2 million for a new building.

The Dec. 16 commencement will be held at the Convocation Center at 2 p.m.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.


Kyle Mattson

Thu, Nov 8, 2012 : 5:31 a.m.

FYI- I just stumbled across this link on EMU's site where commencement ceremony livestream will be located for anyone who wants to watch it:


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

@jns131, thank you for the heads-up on the pancake mix, will try it. good thing I don't know where you live otherwise I might be knocking on your door, ha-ha("hey! I smell pancakes in there, open up!!").

Michigan Man

Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 12:44 a.m.

Have know the Holmes family for 50+ years. Went to UHS with Chris Holmes. Fine, generous and All American family. May God continue to bless them!


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 2:49 p.m.

Jiffy Mix!!!!! Best Brownie mix EVER!!!! Also Corn muffin mix!!!!!! yum!!!!! thank you, Howdy!!

Kyle Mattson

Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

That I'm going to have to try jns.


Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 4:04 a.m.

Have you tried the maple syrup pancake mix? OMG. Ihave a ton of it stored in a nice cool basement. I am seeing pancakes for dinner. Yummy! I do agree great choice for a commencement speaker. Maybe I might just join in.

Dog Guy

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

What a wonderful choice! A hard-headed local philanthropist who has actually done something is so much more to the point for graduation than celebrities and politicians. Does anyone have a spare ticket for December 16?


Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 2:48 p.m.

Dog Guy, absolutely! maybe someone out there has 2 spare tickets...?