$3-Million Legacy Will Provide Scholarships, Opportunities in Food Industry

December 17, 2013 - News Release

Maintaining Canada’s prominence in the food industry by investing in future leaders is the aim of a new $3-million gift to the University of Guelph.

The new Guelph Food Technology Centre (GFTC) Legacy Fund will support an unprecedented 98 undergraduate and graduate scholarships and work programs ranging from $2,500 to $14,000 each.

The scholarships will support academic study, research and co-op placements in food-related fields spanning several U of G colleges. They will be allocated annually or one-time for the next five years.

The gift was made through the BetterPlanet Project, the University’s $200-million fundraising campaign for teaching and research in food, environment, health and communities.

“This will have tremendous impact on our students, our University and the future of the food industry,” said president Alastair Summerlee.

“There is no better way to ensure the continued vitality of this important sector than fostering the leaders of tomorrow. As Canada’s food university, the University of Guelph is uniquely positioned to do just that, and this generous gift will provide us with new resources.”

Starting in fall 2014, the awards will be available to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing everything from food engineering and nutrition to agri-business and agricultural economics.

Seventeen scholarships worth $14,000 over four years will be offered to students entering food-related programs in the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC), School of Engineering, College of Biological Science, College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, and College of Management and Economics.

Other awards will support nine entering graduate students (scholarships worth $10,000 each); four students with work experience and ambitious goals in the food industry ($11,500 each); four agricultural diploma students ($5,000 each); and 34 second- and third-year students ($3,500 each).

The awards also include support for 30 undergraduate co-op work placements and 10 graduate research awards worth $7,500 each.

“This kind of support is unparalleled,” said OAC dean Rob Gordon. “It will allow students interested in our important food industry to focus on their studies, as well as provide opportunities for hands-on learning experiences that stretch their potential.”

For nearly 150 years, we have excelled in research in food production, processing, packaging and delivery. The GFTC Legacy Fund will allow us to create and extend new knowledge, and to continue to benefit the entire agri-food sector as Canada’s food university.”

Rich Moccia, associate vice-president (strategic partnerships) and a longtime GFTC board member, added: "This scholarship gift from GFTC Legacy Fund is at the perfect intersection of public, private and academic sector needs. It will drive much needed academic recruitment of some of our best young scholars, and nurture those professional skills most in demand by our provincial food industry.”

The GFTC was established on campus in 1994 as an independent, not-for-profit organization to help processors and manufacturers further improve the competitiveness of the Ontario food industry. Every year, centre staff work with more than 1,500 Canadian businesses and train more than 3,000 professionals.

In 2013, GFTC was acquired by NSF International to become one of the largest food safety certifiers in the world; the Canadian office remains in Guelph. The legacy fund was established this year using proceeds of sale from the merger.

“This partnership with U of G supports education that will build technical expertise, expand technology applications and promote innovative solutions for the future competitiveness of Canadian food processors and manufacturers,” said Don Wilcox, chair of the GFTC Legacy Fund.

The gift was announced Monday following the unveiling of 10 new recognition plaques on U of G’s BetterPlanet Project donor wall. Located in Rozanski Hall, the wall honours campaign donors and outlines the global impacts of University teaching and research.

Launched in 2010, the University’s BetterPlanet project has raised more than $171 million. The campaign has attracted more than 60,000 donors, including 16,000 grads. About one in four gifts support student awards.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or lhunt@uoguelph.ca; or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982, or kgonsalves@uoguelph.ca.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1