Kennesaw State named National Restaurant Association's Innovator of the Year

University also wins Operator Innovation Award for Sustainability

May 20, 2013, 20:07 ET from Kennesaw State University

KENNESAW, Ga., May 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Marking the first time ever that a higher education institution has been selected for such recognition, the nation's top food industry professional association has named Kennesaw State University its "Innovator of the Year." The award was bestowed on Saturday in Chicago at "Destination: Celebration," the 2013 National Restaurant Association, Hotel-Motel Show.

The "Innovator of the Year" was selected from the winners of five categories of award recipients, representing: Food Safety, Health & Nutrition, Menu Development, Sustainability, and Technology. 

Kennesaw State's culinary program also took the top honor in the "Sustainability" category, winning the "Operator Innovation Award for Sustainability."

In claiming the Innovator of the Year title, Kennesaw State bested Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., the Operator Innovation Award for Technology winner; and the U.S. Air Force, the Operator Innovation Award for Health & Nutrition winner. Other finalists included Ninety Nine Restaurants in Woburn, Mass., Food & Safety winner; and HMSHost in Bethesda, Md., Menu Development winner.

In recognizing the University's innovation and sustainability efforts, NRA officials cited: "The University's 5,000 guest/day dining operation incorporates a comprehensive, closed-loop waste management program through a variety of efforts, including a robust organic "Farm-to-Campus-to-Farm" program, water reclamation, aerobic digestion, composting/recycling programs, oil-to-biodiesel conversion and more to significantly reduce costs, minimize environmental impact and qualify the facility for a LEED Gold certification."

Kennesaw State's culinary sustainability efforts have been built upon the University's extremely successful dining services operation, which has become the foundation for a full-fledged academic program – a new bachelor's degree in Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality that will be launched in the fall of 2013.  The unique program will infuse sustainable business practices into all facets of culinary and hospitality management, with an emphasis on maximizing efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

Link to extended news release on the National Restaurant Association awards

Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 80 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing, and a new Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of 24,600 students from more than 130 countries.

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SOURCE Kennesaw State University