UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — An anonymous donor is putting his or her money where our mouths are, pledging to match gifts — on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to $1 million — in an effort to enhance food science programs at Penn State.
If the donor's maximum match is reached — resulting in $2 million in total gifts — these funds will be combined with a 2014 gift from the same donor, also of $1 million, to reach the $3 million needed to create the first endowed department head position in the history of the College of Agricultural Sciences, which dates back to Penn State's 1855 founding as the Farmers' High School.
Funds from this campaign would enhance the Philip G. Keeney Food Science Department Head Excellence Fund, which was established with the 2014 gift. The fund was named in honor of the professor emeritus of food science who helped establish the department and who is best known for his expertise on ice cream and chocolate. Proceeds from the endowment can be used at the discretion of the department head to support programs and new initiatives in food science research, extension and teaching.
If the fundraising goal is met, the chair of the department will be named the Philip G. Keeney Food Science Department Head.
"We are incredibly grateful for the generosity that created the Keeney Excellence Fund, which already has begun to positively impact our food science programs," said Robert Roberts, professor and head of food science. "But as the Penn State Berkey Creamery — which is housed in our department — celebrates its 150th anniversary, now would be a perfect time to enhance that endowment to help ensure another 150 years of innovative food science programs at Penn State, while further honoring Phil Keeney, who helped build the foundation for the department's and the creamery's success."
Keeney noted that he is extremely humbled and pleased to have such an endowment named in his honor. "The Food Science Department has a group of young faculty who are at the forefront of food science innovation," he said. "The department has evolved to meet societal needs in areas such as sensory evaluation and consumer behavior, food safety, health and nutrition, food chemistry, and food engineering. The creamery also has adapted to incorporate the latest science-based information and comply with new federal standards."
"Times change fast, and you can't stand still," he added. "I believe this fund gives the head of the Food Science Department flexibility in launching new — and maybe unforeseen — initiatives that might not be possible otherwise."