Freshmen, listen up.
There was a time at this great school of ours when a man with such freshness walked as one of us that everybody knew him by a simple nickname: Deli Fresh.
His real name is Delvonne McCullum, but his nametags displayed the above moniker while working at various food stores in State College. The man of order-taking lore graduated Penn State in Fall 2012, but we got a chance to catch up with him and see how he’s been.
First, the nickname’s origin deserves explaining. When he was working at a McDonald’s in hometown Erie, he forgot about one of his shifts. He had taken a shower and thrown on Axe, ready to do things other than work, when his manager called him asking where he was.
“I showed up, and he said, ‘you smell fresh,’” McCullum said. “I said, ‘fresh like a deli,’ and the nickname stuck.”
It blew up once he got to Penn State. After all, he worked at the Big Onion, McDonald’s, Burger King, The Deli, and Chipotle during his time here, so students got familiar with him.
He said he worked at all those places to support himself through college — the only places he wouldn’t work were Wings Over and Five Guys, because working at places ruined the food for him and their food was just too good.
He got his job working at the Big Onion the day he got to Penn State.
“I wasn’t trying to be popular working at McDonald’s or anything, I just wanted to do it to have fun at work,” McCullum said. “Not everybody would be happy doing that job but I tried to make it more fun.”
After Happy Valley, McCullum got a job with investment management company Vanguard in Collegeville, Pa., after receiving recommendations from Penn State friends. With Vanguard, he mostly manages mutual funds and trust accounts.
“They know me as Deli Fresh there, too,” McCullum said with a laugh.
He has plans to eventually move to Atlanta or Charlotte, N.C., two places where he’s got family. He wants to settle down, start a family, and “not talk too much about college.”
It’s always nice to see Penn State alumni doing well, and Deli Fresh is no different. Here he is now, looking as svelte as ever.