Virginia Tech Director of Dining Services Ted Faulkner is this year’s recipient of the Michael D. Olsen Outstanding Alumnus Award from the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management in the Pamplin College of Business.
Department head Nancy Gard McGehee praised Faulkner for his three decades of service to Virginia Tech students and his commitment to excellence and innovation. “Ted is an outstanding alumnus, in terms of his personal success, his service to the university, and his support of Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management.”
Faulkner and the Dining Services team have been credited with revolutionizing the university dining experience. Dining Services has earned national recognition and top rankings for best campus food, as well as prestigious awards for sustainable practices and ground-breaking approaches to food service.
Vice President for Student Affairs Patty Perillo commended Faulkner for his leadership and commitment to making the Virginia Tech student experience the best it can be.
“Ted’s excellent work has consistently garnered local and national admiration,” said Perillo. “The Olsen award, however, has special significance. It not only recognizes Ted’s amazing leadership in Virginia Tech Dining Services but also comes from one of the most prestigious hospitality and tourism management academic programs in the country. I predict that of all the awards Ted and his team have received, this one from his alma mater will hold a special place in his heart.”
Faulkner graduated in 1987 with a degree in what was then called hotel, restaurant and institutional management. He began his career as a nutritionist in Schultz Dining Center and held a variety of positions before being named director of dining services in 2012.
Colleagues said Faulkner finds ways to collaborate with the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management. In addition to hiring its students and offering internships, Faulkner often is a guest speaker in classes and is a member of the the department's advisory board.
The award is named for Michael Olsen, the first department head for the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Olsen was one of Faulkner’s mentors and helped guide the department it to its current status as one of the premier programs in the world. Olsen died in 2012.
“Dr. Olsen was an industry leader not only on this campus but worldwide in food service and hospitality,” said Faulkner. “He had a profound impact on me during my time as a student that has continued to this day. In receiving this award, I’m incredibly fortunate to have my name associated with that of Dr. Michael Olsen.”
Virginia Tech Dining Services is one of 23 departments in the Division of Student Affairs. Senior Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Frank Shushok Jr. said, "What I admire most about Ted is his unending recognition that the success of Dining Services is a team effort,” said “He’s always quick to redirect praise to his staff. It’s his humble service disposition that makes applauding Ted’s recognition all the more edifying.”