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$1M Donation Honors Food Science Professor

An anonymous gift of $1 million was donated to Penn State’s Department of Food Science on Tuesday to honor Food Science Professor Emeritus Phil Keeney. According to a press release, the donation will be used specifically to establish the Philip G. Keeney Food Science Department Head Excellence Fund. Proceeds from this fund will be used to support programs and new initiatives in food science research, extension, and teaching.

Keeney has been involved with Penn State’s Department of Food Science since its inception in 1975. Though the department of food science has grown extensively since its establishment and touches an assortment of other disciplines such as chemistry and engineering, Keeney focused on one thing – ice cream.

Dubbed the “Emperor of Ice Cream” by People Magazine, Keeney was the director of Penn State’s Ice Cream Short Course for 30 years until his retirement in 1985. The short course is a prestigious program tailored towards ice cream professionals at an international level, most notably being the basis for Ben and Jerry’s after the founders took the course.

Keeney received his doctorate in dairy science from Penn State following stints at the University of Nebraska and Ohio State. After serving in teaching roles at the university, Keeney was named the head of the Department of Food Science in 1980.

Post-retirement, Keeney was named a Penn State Distinguished Alumnus, the university’s highest alumni award, and most notably was honored with his own creamery “hall of fame” flavor entitled Keeney Beany.

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