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$1 Million Pledged To Create Endowed Position In Honor Of Keeney Beany Chocolate Namesake

An anonymous donor has pledged to donate up to $1 million to create the first endowed department head position in the history of the College of Agricultural Sciences. The donor promised to match gifts of up to a total sum of $1 million, resulting in a possible net $2 million sum to aid the food science programs at Penn State.

If the $2 million mark is reach, that total will be combined with another $1 million from a 2014 fund to make up the needed $3 million that the college requires for an endowed department head position. The College of Agricultural Sciences has been around since Penn State’s founding in 1855, and was originally called the Farmers’ High School.

The $1 million from last year’s fund benefited the Philip G. Keeney Food Science Department Head Excellence Fund, named after a former professor. If the $3 million is reached, the new chair would be titled 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,” professor and head of food science Robert Roberts said to Penn State News. “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 said the new position would allow the department to experiment with previously not possible initiatives. During his lengthy Penn State tenure, Keeney led the Penn State Ice Cream Short Course from 1955 until he retired in 1985. The namesake of Keeney Beany chocolate, his leadership helped make the Berkey Creamery the largest university creamery in the country.

The campaign to fund the department head’s position recently benefitted from a $25,000 gift from Penn State dairy science alumnus Louis Galliker. Galliker is the chairman and president of Galliker Dairy Co. in Johnstown, a regional leader of dairy and nondairy products.

“The Food Science Department has a group of young faculty who are at the forefront of food science innovation,” Keeney said to Penn State News, lauding the department’s improvements and drive. “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.”

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Ben Berkman

State College, PA

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