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Perdue supports WKU-Owensboro Food Processing and Technology program

A $50,000 gift from Perdue, through the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, will support the Food Processing and Technology program at WKU’s Owensboro Campus.

Dr. Gordon Baylis, WKU's vice president for Research, discussed the Perdue gift at the announcement Sept. 13 at Owensboro's Centre for Business and Research. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

According to WKU President Gary A. Ransdell, this gift will allow WKU-Owensboro to purchase two important pieces of equipment to supplement the laboratory for the Food Processing and Technology program, part of WKU’s Ogden College of Science and Engineering.

“The Food Processing and Technology program at the WKU-Owensboro Campus was established in 2008 in response to the needs of the food processing industry in western Kentucky and the entire Commonwealth,” Dr. Ransdell said.  “The program is unique to the region and is the only program of its type in Kentucky.  A bachelor’s degree in Food Processing and Technology prepares graduates for technical and managerial positions within the food processing industry.  We are so pleased that the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation has partnered with us to help meet this regional need.”

Dr. Blaine Ferrell, Dean of WKU’s Ogden College, said the gift will allow WKU to purchase a fat analyzer and a protein analyzer, which will determine fat and protein content in raw and processed meat and meat products.

“The gift will be matched by an internal grant and money from the city of Owensboro, which will be used to purchase a texture analyzer, a water activity meter and a colorimeter to supplement the laboratory, more than doubling the impact of the gift,” Dr. Ferrell said. “We are extremely appreciative of the industry support for WKU efforts to produce a workforce relevant for the needs of the community.”

Participating in a check presentation Sept. 13 in Owensboro were (from left) Dr. John Khouryieh, WKU-Owensboro; Jim Booth, Director of Operations for Perdue Farms, Inc.; Kathryn Costello, WKU's Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations; Tim Gilbert, Associate Relations Representative for Perdue; Jeanette Cox, Complex Human Resources Manager for Perdue; Dr. Gene Tice, Director of WKU-Owensboro. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis).

Dr. Gene Tice, director of WKU-Owensboro, said the Food Processing and Technology program teaches students the biological, chemical, physical, microbiological and engineering principles and practices necessary for the processing of agricultural and food products.

“Students learn about the processes involved in inspecting, storing, processing and packaging safe and nutritious products,” Dr. Tice said.  “The addition of state-of-the-art equipment is critical to the development of a food analysis laboratory.  This will allow our students to conduct laboratory experiments and acquire hands-on experience to supplement lecture courses.”

Dr. Tice said the equipment will be housed in the Centre for Business and Research at 1016 Allen St. “Programs like this help fulfill the city’s vision of bringing researchers together at the Centre to promote economic development,” he said.

President Ransdell said the establishment of the Food Processing and Technology major supports WKU’s mission to meet the needs of the community it serves.

In presenting the grant, Jim Booth, Director of Operations at Perdue’s facility in Cromwell, said: “We are honored to present this grant on behalf of Perdue and the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation in support of Western Kentucky University’s Food Processing and Food Technology Program. We have a vested interest in helping develop the next generation of technical and managerial professionals with the necessary skills that will ultimately benefit not only Perdue, but other poultry and food companies.”

About Perdue and the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation: PERDUE® is the No. 1 brand of fresh chicken in the Eastern United States. Ranked as the third largest poultry company in the U.S., Perdue is a leading international food and agriculture family of businesses providing quality products and services to customers in more than 100 countries. Privately held and family-run for three generations, the company employs more than 21,000 associates and partners with more than 2,200 independent farm families — all of whom share in the commitment to quality that has guided the company since its founding in 1920. The Arthur W. Perdue Foundation is a tax-exempt charitable foundation established in 1957 by the founder of Perdue Incorporated. Grants are distributed for the improvement of life in the community through support of the arts, community development, education, health, human services and youth activities. For  information, contact Perdue spokesperson Julie DeYoung at 410-341-2533 or visit www.perdue.com.

Contact: Julie DeYoung with Perdue at (410) 341-2533 or Gene Tice with WKU-Owensboro at (270) 684-9797.

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