News release prepared by: Andrew Zender, 785-532-7648, azender@found.ksu.edu

Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012

Bountiful harvest: New endowed faculty chair, hire made possible through milling association gift

MANHATTAN -- A gift from a major gain milling association has established a new faculty chair at Kansas State University.

The North American Millers' Association, or NAMA, has made a commitment of $300,000 to the university's department of grain science and industry to establish the NAMA Instructor of Milling Award. Fran Churchill, a K-State alumna with more than 20 years of milling industry experience, has been hired for the position and joined the university Jan. 3.

According to Dirk Maier, head of the department of grain science and industry, the association's gift is a significant highlight of the organization’s 100-year-long partnership with Kansas State University that has resulted in many important achievements, including the construction of the Hal Ross Flour Mill and the endowed NAMA Milling Scholarship.

"We are very excited about Fran Churchill joining our faculty as the NAMA instructor of milling science and management," Maier said. "NAMA's funding of this faculty position reflects the priority its member companies place on enhancing the future work force by recruiting, educating and preparing the next generation of milling industry professionals."

Mary Waters, president of the North American Millers' Association, said that Kansas State University's milling science management program is the only university program in the U.S. that provides education and training for the next generation of mill managers and technology specialists, and the award at K-State is an investment in the human capital important to the industry.

"The milling science program at K-State is important to our industry because many of our member companies hire its graduates for their mills," Waters said. "By funding this faculty award, we can ensure we have experienced industry alumni helping educate future millers who have the knowledge and education our members need for operating their mills."

Philanthropic contributions to the university are coordinated by the Kansas State University Foundation. The foundation staff works with university partners to build lifelong relationships with alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students through involvement and investment in the university.