Named for the retired president and coo of Tyson Foods, the Donald "Buddy" Wray Chair in Food Safety will support areas key to Arkansas' economy, including food processing and poultry processing. Research sponsored through this endowment will help insure the quality of future processes and products.
The chair holder will provide the additional faculty capacity needed to bring the university's food microbiology program to national and international prominence.
University of Arkansas Chancellor John A. White said: "We are extremely grateful to Tyson Foods for their ongoing support of the Bumpers College. Endowing and naming a chair for Buddy Wray not only honors him, but it also honors us by permanently associating his name with the University of Arkansas. The Wray Chair in Food Safety will enable us to attract and keep outstanding educators and researchers. Tyson Foods' participation in the Campaign for the Twenty-First Century fuels our vision of a nationally competitive, student-centered research university serving Arkansas and the world."
In early 2003, Tyson Foods made a gift in kind, which will be matched by $1.5 million from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation's $300 million gift to the university in 2002. Investment returns on the total endowment will be used to enhance teaching, research and service programs conducted by the holder of the Wray Chair.
Greg Weidemann, dean of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, said: "Tyson Foods has been a generous supporter of Bumpers College programs over the years, and we are grateful for their continued support. Research in food safety is critical to the future of the food industry and we are pleased that Tyson Foods is making this investment to improve our research capacity in food safety. We're excited about finding an excellent candidate to be the first holder of the Wray Chair."
The University of Arkansas is the lead institution in the USDA-funded Food Safety Consortium, which is providing grant support for 13 food safety research projects this year involving 11 University of Arkansas faculty scientists. Wray has served as an industry adviser to the Food Safety Consortium.
John Tyson, chairman and CEO of Tyson Foods, and chairman of the Campaign for the Twenty-First Century Corporate and Foundation Committee, said: "Tyson Foods is proud to be able to support the University of Arkansas by endowing this chair in the critically important discipline of food safety. We're also extremely pleased this endowment will honor Buddy Wray, who, as part of the Tyson Foods family, spent his career devoted to the excellence for which our brand has become known."