SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cal Poly’s Dairy Science Department will receive $5 million from Denver-based Leprino Foods Company.
The pledge will be paid over the next two years and will support an endowed faculty position, cover costs to remodel dairy science teaching laboratories, and provide initial start-up costs for a new master’s degree program.
The first of its kind in the United States, the new Master of Professional Studies in Dairy Foods degree program will include classroom study, hands-on production and an industry externship. Graduates of the program will be well prepared to enter California’s dairy foods industry.
Recognizing Cal Poly’s hands-on program as an essential component in the training they seek for their employees, Leprino Foods believes this partnership is critical to the goal of developing the next generation of dairy industry leaders. Leprino Foods, which operates three plants in California, has, for many years, had great success hiring Cal Poly Dairy Science graduates. The company is also a research partner through the Dairy Products and Technology Center (DPTC) and buys milk from Cal Poly’s dairy.
“Leprino Foods and Cal Poly have always been committed to innovation in the dairy industry, and Leprino Foods is excited about this opportunity. This investment will help develop the future talent in our industry,” said Dan Vecchiarelli, Vice Chairman of the Board, Leprino Foods.
Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong believes the partnership is a crucial accomplishment in Cal Poly's overall effort to attract the best talent possible and to address the needs of the growing dairy industry. “We are proud that Leprino Foods has selected Cal Poly as a long-term partner, and its commitment will inspire other industry leaders to join in support of the dairy,” Armstrong said.
Valued at $63 billion in economic activity for the state and nearly $7 billion in dairy farm receipts, the California dairy industry was responsible for more than 443,000 jobs in 2008.
Dairy Science Department Head Bruce Golden says the pledge will help the university meet its mission to supply students to California’s workforce. “With this contribution, Cal Poly will expand its dairy science programs, better support the dairy foods industry, and produce future leaders who are ready to work on day one,” said Golden.
Commenting on the joint effort between the university and one of the world’s leading cheese and dairy ingredients producers, California Dairy Research Foundation Executive Director Joe O’Donnell said, “Cal Poly listens to the needs of the dairy industry, and continues to deliver.”
About Cal Poly Dairy Science
Cal Poly’s Dairy Science Department is one of only two programs in the United States that offers academic preparation in both milk-production and processing focus. Through Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing education model, Dairy Science students have produced dairy foods on campus since the early 1900s, including butter, milk, chocolate milk and a variety of cheeses. Established in 1986, the Dairy Products Technology Center (DPTC) helps meet the needs of the California dairy industry for applied research, industry training and graduate students prepared for the dairy and foods industries. The DPTC is one of five centers around the country funded in part by state and national dairy boards. For further information, visit www.calpoly.edu/~dptc.
About Leprino Foods Company
Leprino Foods Company is a world leader in premium-quality cheese production, the number one producer of lactose in the world, and a leading supplier of whey protein and sweet whey. Leprino Foods’ premium-quality cheeses, including mozzarella, reduced-fat Monterey jack, provolone, reduced-fat cheddar and various cheese blends, are made for pizzeria and foodservice operators, frozen food manufacturers and private label cheese packagers. Founded in 1950, Leprino Foods is a world leader in innovative dairy food ingredient production, employing nearly 4,000 people. Sales of Leprino Foods products currently reach over 40 countries around the globe. For more information, visit www.leprinofoods.com.