MSU Earns Two Prestigious Awards from NACUFS

Michigan State University (MSU) was recently honored with two significant awards from the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS). The organization recently announced its 2020 Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards named after a NACUFS founder, past president and highly regarded innovator. The recognitions celebrate exemplary menus, presentations, special event planning, and new dining concepts, providing an avenue for sharing ideas and creative presentations in campus dining services.

Thrive logoMSU received a gold in the Residential Dining Facility category among large institutions for the allergen-free dining hall Thrive at Owen. Additionally, the university earned a bronze award for the 2019 Veterans Day Dinner in the Residential Dining—Special Event category for large institutions.

“This recognition of our efforts to further our allergy program and organize engaging events is an absolute honor,” shared Rebecca Selesky, executive director of MSU Culinary Services (CS). “Our team remains committed to accommodating dietary needs and enhancing opportunities for Spartans to develop meaningful connections.”

The newest dining hall on campus, Thrive is Certified Free From™ the Big 8 allergens (eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat) plus gluten. As the number of students reporting food allergies continued to rise nearly 175% each year, MSU placed emphasis on expanding the food allergy program, with Thrive serving as a key element to success. The team looks forward to reopening the location for fall semester 2021.

Veterans Day Dinner 2019Additionally, the 4th annual Veterans Day Dinner recognized with a bronze has been a pride point for the team and an event that continues to flourish. It was first initiated by Executive Chef Kevin Cruz, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps before pursuing a culinary career. The 2019 event captured for the award entry was implemented by Executive Chef Dien Ly and the talented team at The Vista at Shaw. With each year, it further enriches the gratitude we have for student veterans, dependents of veterans and all those who have served.

A team of six judges and a committee chair safely gathered in East Lansing in June 2021 to examine each award entry and selected top candidates in the six categories. CS Associate Director of Marketing and Communications Cheryl Berry chaired the committee, and Registered Dietitian Kelsey Patterson also served as a judge.

Competing for one of these prestigious awards helps market the dining program and builds a sense of pride and team spirit. Sharing creativity and knowledge with other foodservice professionals is also a key component of NACUFS membership. A complete list of winners can be found online at The Grand Prize winners will be announced at a later date.

Culinary Services, one of the largest self-operated university foodservice systems in the country, is a department within the Division of Residential and Hospitality Services at Michigan State University. For more information, visit, like Eat at State on Facebook and follow @eatatstate on Instagram and Twitter.