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Purdue Dining & Catering Recognizes Academic Partners of the Year

WEST LAFAYETTE — Purdue Dining & Catering recognized its inaugural Academic Partners of the Year at a ceremony Wednesday afternoon.

The organization named the Industrial Engineering (IE) 431 class and Purdue’s Foods and Nutrition program the winners of the first 2017 Outstanding Academic Excellence Awards. The awards recognize longstanding relationships between Purdue Dining & Catering and significant academic partners.

Purdue Dining & Catering annually collaborates with the IE 431 class on a number of projects. The class is a capstone course for senior design in the School of Industrial Engineering. IE 431 students work in teams to help identify, analyze and define issues, then formulate and propose solutions. The partnership began in 2004.

“Throughout the years, we have posed highly formidable tasks to these highly educated students, seeking their knowledge and classroom experience in providing solutions,” said Greg Minner, director of Dining & Catering. “We are honored to have the ability to use the skillset of these students and yet provide them with challenging tasks to allow them to hone their skills.”

Recent initiatives proposed by IE 431 students that have been implemented by Purdue Dining & Catering include: 

  • A new flow for customers and seating at Lemongrass in Purdue Memorial Union.
  • A proposed layout design for patio areas at Ford Dining Court, poised to be implemented in 2019.
  • Various workflow and layout efficiencies, including Windsor Dining Court dish collection procedures and Purdue Memorial Kitchen efficiencies.

Dave Kotterman

Dave Kotterman, director of industry relations for the School of Industrial Engineering was on hand to accept the award on behalf of the school.

“The best part of this partnership is to gain experience for our students and allow them to be creative and innovative,” remarked Kotterman. “Purdue Dining & Catering listens and implements the ideas our students propose.”

Purdue’s Foods and Nutrition program has been a partner of Dining & Catering for more than 40 years. Partnerships have included internship programs and a particularly strong relationship with students in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CPD). Among the many impacts the partnership has produced over the years was the combination of all the small dining halls in Windsor Hall into a larger, centralized dining facility in the late-1970s.

“The CPD program has provided such extraordinary experiences for over 400 students,” said Minner. “We are especially excited to be part of such a renowned program that has grown with us through the years.” 

Mridul Datta

Dr. Mridul Datta, assistant professor and director, Coordinated Program in Dietetics accepted the award on behalf of the department.

“We really appreciate the partnerships we have with Purdue Dining & Catering as well as the experiential learning opportunities they provide in helping us train an exceptional group of dietetic students,” said Datta.

Visitors to the reception, held in the Anniversary Drawing Room in the Purdue Memorial Union, were able to view displays showcasing initiatives proposed and implemented by IE 431 and Food and Nutrition program students. These displays ranged from proposals to optimize workflows to dietary initiatives.

Purdue Dining & Catering’s mission is to nourish and inspire the Purdue community. The organization embraces a focus on cocurricular education and leadership development as an integral part of the Purdue experience.

Source: Greg Minner, director, Purdue Dining & Catering,

Writer: Matt Vader: Writer/Social Media Coordinator, Purdue Student Life Marketing,