Rich Hartel receives WAA Alumni Outreach Award

The Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA) has selected University of Wisconsin-Madison food science professor Richard Hartel as the 2009 recipient of the Ken and Linda Ciriacks Alumni Outreach Excellence Award.

The Ken and Linda Ciriacks Alumni Outreach Excellence Award recognizes UW-Madison faculty members who go above and beyond their job roles to support the Wisconsin Idea and WAA by delivering a variety of enrichment or outreach programs to a primarily alumni audience.

Since joining the Department of Food Science at UW-Madison in 1986, Hartel has taught several food-processing classes as a professor of food engineering. Affectionately known as “the chocolate guy,” Hartel has been a regular speaker at learning and alumni outreach events since the 2005 chocolate exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Hartel has spoken to alumni audiences at three Founders’ Day celebrations in the past two years and has also been featured at Spring Day on Campus in 2008 and the special Halloween edition of Wednesday Nite @ the Lab.

Recently, Hartel played an essential role in providing exclusive access to an unprecedented public tour of Clasen Quality Coatings for the Made in Wisconsin program, and has initiated another food products company tour for Made in Wisconsin in 2009.

“We’re proud to officially recognize Rich Hartel for his incredible ability to engage with alumni of all ages,” says WAA president and CEO Paula Bonner. “His knowledge of candy science is unparalleled, and his talks always draw a crowd.”

Hartel currently offers the undergraduate elective course Candy Science and Technology and is preparing to offer the course to an online audience for long-distance education. Hartel is also the UW-Madison coordinator for the two-week National Confectioners Association-sponsored Resident Course on Candy Science and Technology. In 2009, Hartel was also honored with the Harold Macy Food Science and Technology Award by the Minnesota Section of the Institute of Food Technologists.

The $2,500 Alumni Outreach Excellence Award is named for Ken Ciriacks ’58, one of the most active alumni in the history of WAA, and his wife, Linda. A geologist and former petroleum industry executive, Ken Ciriacks was a charter member of the geology department’s board of visitors and is a member of the Bascom Hill Society. His generosity helped make possible the excavation and reconstruction of the Geology Museum’s 33-foot-long Edmontosaurus dinosaur skeleton.