University of Delaware
With YoUDee and Baby Blue assisting, students cut the ribbon to officially open the new UDairy Creamery.

UDairy Creamery a reality

UDairy Creamery opens doors at special Ag Day ceremony


12:01 p.m., May 2, 2011--Despite the morning chill, those in attendance at Ag Day 2011 on Saturday, April 30, lined up for a taste of UDairy ice cream and to watch the ceremonial ribbon cutting that officially marked the opening of the UDairy Creamery.

When the sun finally poked through at the end of the day, the UDairy Creamery, housed in a new building adjacent to Townsend Hall, had served approximately 2,500 people. 

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Robin Morgan, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), spoke first at the ribbon cutting ceremony, pointing out the many benefits of the creamery. "This is much more than a shop front," she said. "This creamery represents how to teach and how to do business development and management. It's about sustainable and environmentally sound agriculture, it's about food safety and food science and it's about communications and marketing."

Morgan introduced Monica Taylor, UD vice president for development and alumni relations, who noted that the creamery is focused on students and on giving them an opportunity to have learning experiences that stretch beyond the boundaries of the classroom.

"It is student managed from the science to the sales, the milk to the marketing," Taylor said. "For our students who are here, you may not remember all the notes you have taken in class, but I can guarantee for those involved with this ice cream, you’ll leave UD with a deeper knowledge and understanding of both agriculture and business than you could have ever dreamed."

The next speaker, Tom Sims, deputy dean of CANR and the T.A. Baker Professor of Soil and Environmental Chemistry, focused on those who helped make the dream of a creamery a reality, saying that it started with the Unidel Foundation, which provided a gift of $400,000 in seed money.

Sims noted that there were many who helped out in the process and he cited Hy-Point Dairy, which helped the UD team "learn how to be a functioning, modern creamery," and Nowland Associates, which built the creamery. 

Within the University and CANR, Sims thanked Jenny McDermott, facilities manager, Katy O’Connell, communications manager, Dan Severson, the first interim creamery manager, and Melinda Litvinas, creamery manager, for all their work. Sims also thanked everyone who "generously donated to make this facility a reality."

Paul Clark, New Castle County's county executive, who graduated from CANR in 1978 with a degree in horticulture, said the creamery is a great program because it "gets the students involved in the business marketing part of it, and it's a great facility inside. This is just a tribute, recognizing today, all the work of the students."

Before handing the ceremony over to the students to cut the ribbon, Clark implored them to "pass the dipper on to the next generation, the next set of students to come in and understand what you went through to get this here."

Also in attendance for the ribbon cutting ceremony were Newark Mayor Vance Funk, County Council member Lisa Diller, and the students who will be involved in the day-to-day operations of the creamery. 

Prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, the UDairy Creamery hosted donors and dignitaries at a special event held Wednesday evening in the new building.

Among those in attendance was Tom Palchak, manager of the Berkey Creamery at Pennsylvania State University, who said that his best piece of advice for those involved with the UDairy Creamery is to make sure it is "a positive reflection on the University and on the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources" because "they’re going to be making a product that is indelibly tied to the University."

Palchak said the creamery is "very impressive, very well thought out" and noted that its leaders must “make sure that they’re relevant in their support of teaching and research and outreach programs in their respective departments and colleges; as long as that mission remains in the forefront, they will continue to survive and thrive into the future.” 

David Brond, vice president for communications and marketing, spoke at the event, saying that the creamery’s tagline, “From the Cow to the Cone," is "representative of the entire College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. It’s a living demonstration of how an agricultural enterprise, the production of milk, can be sold as a product that is both safe and secure. It's also a way to communicate to Ag and other UD students, as well as the entire UD and greater Newark community, about how we can sustain agriculture and optimize global food production in the face of land use changes. The UDairy Creamery is a symbol of how UD students apply what is learned in the classroom to real world challenges."

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Danielle Quigley

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