Theo and Friedl Schöller-Foundation

“The Theo und Friedl Schöller-Foundation has been supporting research and teaching in the field of economics since 2002. The establishment of the Dr. Theo and Friedl Schöller Research Center at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg strengthens the involvement in this specific area. The Research Center completes the Foundation’s commitment to economic sciences, without neglecting future issues in medicine and education, which are also among the Foundation’s purposes.

The Theo and Friedl Schöller-Foundation was originated in 1988 by Theo Schöller in order to represent and preserve Theo and Friedl Schöller’s lifework in conjunction with the Schöller Family-Foundation.”

Nuremberg, December 23, 2009

Rainer Hattenberger, Head of the Schöller-Foundations


DR. H.C. THEO SCHÖLLER (1917-2004)

Theo Schöller is one of the great pioneering entrepreneurs in the German food industry and one of the symbolic figures of the German “Wirtschaftswunder” (economic miracle). Theo Schöller was born in Nuremberg as the son of a furniture manufacturer. After completing his school education he operated an agency for cinema advertising together with his brother Karl. When he ate his first popsicle in a Berlin vaudeville theater, he was so enthusiastic about the idea that he and his brother started producing packaged popsicles in 1937. In the beginning, the delivery took place with bicycles that were powered by auxiliary motors and equipped with ice boxes. After the outbreak of the war, the company began producing frozen food. In 1957, gingerbread was added to the product range to compensate for the summer ice cream business. Schöller rose to become the second largest ice cream manufacturer on the German market; the ice pioneer Theo Schöller became the “Eiskönig” (ice king).

Although his entire life was committed to his own company, Theo Schöller let others participate in his success early on and he was always a generous patron of his hometown Nuremberg.

Concern about a suitable company succession on the one hand and the bundling of his charitable activities in his own organization on the other hand prompted him early on to arrange the company succession by a foundation. For him, this step was only logical, since for him, as an entrepreneur, the focus was always on people.

The establishment of the Theo and Friedl Schöller Foundation in 1988 was followed by the establishment of the Theo and Friedl Schöller Funding Foundation in 1992, which was primarily intended to help Schöller employees who were in need. In 1993 the Schöller Family Foundation was established.

Theo Schöller has received numerous and highest honors for his entrepreneurial work and his charitable activities. These include the Federal Cross of Merit First Class, the Grand Cross of Merit with Star of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Bavarian Order of Merit, and the State Medal of the Free State of Bavaria for special services to the Bavarian economy. The city of Nuremberg honored him with the Golden Dürer Medal, the Citizen’s Medal, and a honorary citizenship. The Nuremberg Chamber of Commerce for Middle Franconia appointed him as an honorary member of the General Assembly and awarded him the Chamber of Merit Medal as well as the Gold Medal of Honor. Theo Schöller was Honorary Consul of the Republic of Austria as well as Honorary Senator and Honorary Doctor of the FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg.



Friedl Schöller, nee Hönle, was born in Nuremberg as the second daughter of Sebastian Hönle, a baker and later post office manager. She attended the higher commercial school in Nuremberg with the intention of becoming a teacher until she was brought into the company by her older sister, who was already in a leading position in Karl and Theo Schöller’s company. Friedl Schöller began her career as an accountant at Schöller in 1941, switched to the management secretariat two years later, took over the management of the main accounting in 1944 and rose to head of financial accounting the following year. Theo Schöller was convinced of her competence and her commitment to the company, which is why she became his most important employee and closest confidante. In 1968, Theo and Friedl Schöller finally got married. Until the company was sold to Nestlé, Friedl Schöller worked alongside Theo Schöller and put all her efforts into building and growing the company.

After the death of her husband, Friedl Schöller devoted herself above all to the continuation of his life’s work. She became chairwoman of the Schöller Foundations, restructured them and made them fit for the future. She continued the “Zentrum für Altersmedizin” (Center for Geriatric Medicine) project, initiated by Theo Schöller, at the Klinikum Nord (municipal hospital) in Nuremberg and initiated new funding projects in the field of education. With the “Schöller Azubi-Akademie” (Schöller Apprentice Academy), she promoted young trainees on their career path and supported the “Dr.-Theo-Schöller-School” by funding career orientation projects. To improve the theoretical foundations of education and training, she also established the “Friedl Schöller Endowed Chair for Teaching and University Research” (since 2010: “Friedl Schöller Endowed Chair for Educational Psychology”) at the TU Munich.

For decades, the Schöllers have supported FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg in a variety of ways. The cooperation was deepened in 2009 with the establishment of the “Dr. Theo und Friedl Schöller Research Center for Economy and Society”, which supports innovative and cooperative top level research in the field of economics to strengthen responsible behavior in business and society and in which Friedl Schöller presided over as an honorary member of the Advisory Board. In the same year, the “Theo and Friedl Schöller Endowed Professorship for Clinical Nutrition in Advanced Age” was established, which deals with key issues relating to the relationship between nutrition and aging. In 2018, the “Schöller Endowed Chair of Information Systems, in particular Digitalization in Business and Society” was established.

Friedl Schöller has received numerous awards and honors for her work, such as the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon, the Bavarian Order of Merit, and the Bavarian State Medal for services to health. She is honorary citizen of the TU Munich and honorary senator of the FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg.

Friedl Schöller on the establishment of the Dr. Theo and Friedl Schöller Research Center:

“In 1979 we made a donation for scientific research to the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU) for the first time. Since then, a lasting bond has developed, which we were very proud of and which we cultivated through many donations. But I am also proud of the great honors from FAU that both my husband and I have received. This is why I chose to name the project Dr. Theo and Friedl Schöller Research Center.

Thanks to the research center, new scientific paths are taken in our hometown Nuremberg that lead to an intensification of the exchange between business, science, and society in the metropolitan region of Nuremberg. I am very pleased to attend the meetings of the Advisory Board of the Dr. Theo and Friedl Schöller Research Center for Business and Society as an honorary member.

It would be nice to see many researchers respond to the call of the Dr. Theo and Friedl Schöller Research Center and come to our beautiful old town “Norenberc” – as it was also called in the Middle Ages – with the aim to become representatives for Nuremberg’s economic research beyond national borders, and provide valuable research achievements for our society through a cooperation of the best. All the best!”

In Memory of Friedl Schöller (English Subtitles)