Alumnus Creates Endowed Professorship Through Gift Planning

Dr. Larry Beuchat smiling

Dr. Larry Beuchat left a lasting gift to benefit future faculty and students in the Department of Food Science

Dr. Larry Beuchat fondly remembers his time as a Penn State student. From the diverse, interesting peers he met to the fascinating lectures and demonstrations he experienced in class, his college degree set him on a path toward a career as a distinguished researcher in the field of food microbiology.

To recognize the Penn State faculty who inspired him and to encourage a new generation of researchers, Dr. Beuchat '65 Agr created the Dr. Larry Beuchat Professorship in Food Microbiology with a planned gift of $1 million. It is the first endowed professorship in Penn State's Department of Food Science in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

"I got my start at Penn State," Dr. Beuchat says. "The gift is a return for the effort, time, and inspiration I received in my food microbiology classes at Penn State. Now as a faculty member myself, I've seen so many young developing scientists grow in understanding the field of food microbiology, and it's been inspiring to see these young people go on to contribute to the field. I thought this professorship would be a good way to support their efforts."

Dr. Beuchat is passionate about faculty support, and he was able to use gift planning vehicles to make the impact he envisioned. The gift combines an estate gift and life insurance policy benefit to create the endowment.

The Dr. Larry Beuchat Professorship in Food Microbiology will provide a faculty member with funds to conduct new research, to extend knowledge to industry and the public, and to support undergraduate and graduate students' work. This full professorship will join two early career professorships already established in the department.

"A named professorship is an honor," says Dr. Bob Roberts, interim department head of Penn State's Department of Food Science. "Because he's also a professional in this area, Dr. Beuchat's gift is an honor and testament to the kind of work we are doing at Penn State. Food safety is a national and international priority, and this endowment will provide the Beuchat Professor with funds to take risks with his or her research and push the field forward."

Dr. Beuchat credits the courses he took at Penn State as an undergraduate with providing him the inspiration to dedicate his life to food science. A food microbiology course was incredibly inspirational, while a food processing course, then taught in a laboratory by Beaver Stadium, provided him with hands-on learning that further motivated him to study these topics.

"I hope the professorship will expand and strengthen the already strong food microbiology program at Penn State," Dr. Beuchat says. "While a professor may not have an extension or outreach appointment, he or she may field telephone calls or attend meetings to share his or her knowledge. I created the Beuchat Professorship with the hopes of facilitating the spread of fundamental and applied discoveries to future generations of students, industry, and the public."

A native of Guys Mills, Pennsylvania, Dr. Beuchat earned his master's and doctoral degrees from Michigan State University before working for Quaker Oats in research and development. He then embarked on a career in academia at the University of Georgia, where he currently serves as a semi-retired distinguished research professor of food microbiology at the Center for Food Safety. He has published more than 500 refereed scientific articles and authored or co-authored five books on the topics of food safety, foodborne infections and intoxication, and spoilage issues that are still commonplace around the globe. As of 2005, he was the third most-cited agricultural scientist in the world.

The Penn State Department of Food Science is ranked among the top programs in the nation, according to the National Research Council, with an undergraduate enrollment of 220 and graduate enrollment of 40 students in M.S. and Ph.D. programs. Food safety is a primary focus in research and expertise of the faculty.

The Dr. Larry Beuchat Professorship will support For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, a University-wide fundraising effort directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The University is engaging Penn State's alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity, and sustaining the University's tradition of quality. The For the Future campaign is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State's history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.

To learn how you can support the campaign and future Penn State students through a gift in your will, please contact Michael J. Degenhart, Assistant Vice President, or any of the expert gift planning officers in the Office of Gift Planning at Penn State at 888-800-9170 (toll free) or giftplanning@psu.edu.

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