In memoriam: Fred Dollar

Dollar gave back a lot to innovation and the industry as a whole.

Back in July, at the Ted Minah Award dinner during the NACUFS conference in San Jose, I had the good fortune of sitting next to David Riddle, the director of dining services at Texas A&M University.

It was fortuitous for a couple of reasons. First, I got to hear about some interesting plans for the foodservice program at the institution. Second, we were able to talk about A&M’s dining icon, Fred Dollar. It seems that Fred was still a fixture in the A&M community and an occasional breakfast partner of Riddle’s, and it was nice to hear that he had remained a part of the university.

The memory of that conversation was stirred Monday morning, when I learned of the death last week of Col. Dollar at the age of 89.

Fred Dollar may have been an employee of A&M, but I got the impression he always viewed his job as his way of giving back to the campus that gave him his education. And he gave back a lot, if you measure his contributions in the form of innovation, not only to A&M but to the industry as a whole.

Among the items Fred—a founding member of the Society for the Advancement of Food Service Research—was credited with creating or helping to create: the “food court” concept of college foodservice, the flight-type of transporting trays from the dining hall to the dishroom, pre-cooked bacon and the technology for the impingement oven.

He was honored several times by the industry, including an IFMA Silver Plate Award in 1978, NACUFS’ Ted Minah Award for Distinguished Service in 1977, and NACUFS’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990.

Fred graduated from A&M in 1944, and he spent 22 years in the military, with the U.S. Army’s Quartermasters Corps. When he retired from active duty in 1965, he returned to campus to be the foodservice director. I had a chance to tour the campus in the mid 1980s with Fred and Lloyd Smith, his assistant director, and I felt for myself the pride he had in that institution. I was fairly new to the foodservice industry, so it wasn’t until later in my career that I could fully appreciate the impact he had had on the industry during his career.

After his retirement, the university’s Board of Regents named him foodservice director emeritus, and he took his role seriously. Not only Dave Riddle but other directors, as well, such as Nadeem Siddiqui, now at Washington University, talked about Fred’s frequent visits to the campus and of their seeking him out for advice and counsel.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

As part of a 10-year contract to run Eastern Michigan University’s foodservice, Chartwells will invest $5 million in the Ypsilanti, Mich., university, as well as provide it with $18 million in capital improvements, according to a report by the Detroit Free Press .

The university’s board of regents approved the contract on Tuesday, citing the new revenue as an opportunity to expand and improve campus foodservice. EMU’s website indicates the partnership will allow for more student input as well as the introduction of food trucks and improved technology.

“The primary reason...

Industry News & Opinion

Students at the University of Virginia will soon be able to use part of their meal plans to buy fresh food grown locally, the result of a new partnership between the school and Greens to Grounds, a nonprofit organization run by students.

Starting in the fall, students will be able to use their meal plan “Plus Dollars” to purchase premade food boxes from Greens to Grounds. The boxes, which come in “snack” or “produce” options, contain a variety of vegetables and fruits with a different weekly menu. The packages typically cost no more than $10, and students will be able to place box...

Industry News & Opinion

The USDA analyzed the efficacy of using Medicaid data to certify students for free or reduced-price lunch, a provision included in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Participating states and districts reported conflicting data on changes in the percentage of students certified, number of meals served, federal reimbursements and certification costs.

The method is used as an alternative to household applications and data matching with other public benefit programs to streamline the certification of more low-income students. The program was first piloted statewide in Kentucky...

Ideas and Innovation
kids students cafeteria line

While summer feeding programs are commonplace in school districts across the country, foodservice operators still struggle to get the word out and kids in.

Many districts are scaling back or discontinuing their summer feeding programs due to low participation, citing staffing costs and other issues that make it difficult to break even and provide a profitable program.

“We need to find a way to encourage that participation,” Tom Freitas—foodservice director for Traverse City Area Public Schools in Traverse City, Mich.—told Record Eagle News . “We are open to ideas as long as...

FSD Resources