Gift to Food Science program provides scholarships for students

Maddi Dyment

The Food Science program at the UK’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment recently received a donation of more than $3.1 million, to boost scholarships for students in this field.

In honor of her late husband Ezra “Demp” Alford, Donna Alford set up this donation in order to fund scholarships for food science undergraduate and graduate students each year, with three undergraduate students having been selected this fall.

As a food science devotee, Alford’s late husband often spoke of his desire to set up a scholarship fund for the UK food science program. He spent most of his life working in the industry, contributing to patents for Brown and Williamson Tobacco until his retirement at the age of 54.

Even then he continued his passion for food science by setting up a basement laboratory in his home, where he worked in food science as a consultant until his death in 2015.

“He talked about setting this up for years,” Donna Alford said. “I hope these students end up making a difference in the world.”

The three undergraduate students selected for the scholarship this fall are McKenzie Miller and Brittany Adkins, both of Lexington, and Nakoma Ehrhart, of Louisville, according to UKNow. These three recipients were chosen in July.

It is Alford’s hope that her contribution will help the program attract top scholars in the food science field by boosting the school’s ability to offer scholarships.

With Ehrhart as one recipient, it is clear the scholarship is off to a great start. She is the president of the UK Food Science Club this past year and has goals of developing new food products for consumers, according to UKNow.

UK Department of Animal and Food Sciences Chair Richard Coffey told UKNow that Alford’s donation is a “transformative gift that will greatly benefit our food science program.”

Alford’s donation ensures that her husband’s passion will live on in the future pioneers of UK food scientist’s, greatly benefitting the education of these students.