MANHATTAN, KAS. — Fred Merrill, founder and chairman of Cereal Food Processors, Inc., Mission Woods, Kas., has been given the Outstanding Alumni Award by Kansas State University. Kirk Schulz, president of Kansas State, presented the award last month to Mr. Merrill, who was unable to attend an awards ceremony in April.
Others award recipients were William E. Pursley, Dale Rodman and Lloyd Rooney, each of whom has had a career in grain-based foods.

Mr. Merrill in 1949 received a degree in milling administration from the K.S.U. Department of Grain Science and Industry.

“He has been a loyal and committed alumnus of K-State throughout his career,” the university said. “He has served as chairman of the University’s Foundation, was chairman of the North American Millers’ Association and of both the Wheat Quality Council and the Kansas Crop Improvement Association.”

Mr. Merrill continues to serve as a trustee of the K.S.U. Foundation.

A career flour milling executive, Mr. Merrill spent several years at Archer Daniels Midland Co. followed by four decades at Cereal Foods.

“Fred has shown steadfast support of K-State through serving on the President’s Advisory Board, through his donations to major buildings on campus, including Merrill Hall, which is part of the Throckmorton Plant Sciences Building and the Hal Ross Flour Mill,” the university said.

In 2005 he was honored with the K-State Medal of Excellence and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the College of Agriculture.

Mr. Pursley, who holds a master's of science degree from Kansas State, has been with AIB International since 1975 and currently serves as vice-president of food safety education.

Describing him as a “much sought after educator,” K.S.U. said he has carried out numerous special assignments dealing with food laws and regulation, sanitation and food safety issues for a range of food processing companies.

In giving Mr. Pursley the award, Kansas State noted he has “maintained a close working relationship with the Department of Grain Science and Industry.”

Mr. Rodman, the third honoree, graduated from Kansas State in 1963 with a degree in agriculture and with a major in food science.

He spent 37 years at Cargill, gaining experienced in flour milling, grain product processing, animal slaughter and processing. He spent four years as president of Tramco, Inc., a maker of heavy duty dry bulk conveying systems.

Mr. Rodman in January 2011 was named Secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Baking was the academic focus of the fourth recipient of the outstanding alumni awards. Dr. Rooney graduated from Kansas Sate with a B.S. in bakery science, and he also holds a Ph.D. from K-State’s Department of Grain Science and Industry.

Dr. Rooney spent his entire career at Texas A&M University where he was named Regents Professor and Faculty Fellow in 2004.

Over the course of his 40-plus year career, Dr. Rooney established himself as an expert in food uses, food quality, processing and chemistry of sorghum.

“His commitment to international collaboration and the training of international students has taken him around the world and gained him the respect and admiration of colleagues in Africa, Asia, South America and India, to say nothing of his many colleagues in North America,” Kansas State said.