University of Guelph Receives $1-Million Donation for Food Laboratory

Michel Eric Fournelle shaking hands with U of G president Franco Vaccarino

GUELPH, Ont. — The University of Guelph received a $1-million donation towards the renovation of the School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management’s (HFTM) food lab.

“The gift will have such positive and broad impacts on students’ connections with and understanding of food and its importance to heath and society,” says Statia Elliot, director of HFTM. “It will be truly transformational.”

The donation comes from Michel Eric Fournelle — a successful real-estate developer, philanthropist and alumni of the former hotel and food-administration program — and helps kick off the university’s fundraising campaign, Legacy 50, which celebrates HFTM’s 50th anniversary by raising funds to help upgrade its learning facilities.

“Although some of the original hotel and food-administration courses are long gone, what hasn’t changed is the school’s success in developing future leaders for the hospitality industry,” says Franco Vaccarino, president of the University of Guelph. “HFTM has grown immensely over the last 50 years, with 400 current undergraduate students, a strong co-op program, graduate degrees and [more than] 5,000 alumni.”

The new food lab has been renamed in honour of Anita Stewart, the University’s food laureate and founder of Food Day Canada. It will enable students to learn innovative practices in food preparation, production, safety and food science.

“My experience as a student at the University of Guelph was wonderful and has had a big impact on my life,” says Fournelle. “[It’s] Canada’s food university, so it seemed natural to support renovating the food laboratory and naming it in honour of Anita Stewart, who has done so much to advance Canada’s cuisine and food culture on the world stage.”

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