The Collegian
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

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Former director of residential dining dies, remembered for his culinary expertise and creativity

<p>The University of Richmond flag flies at half-staff.&nbsp;</p>

The University of Richmond flag flies at half-staff. 

Former director of residential dining M. Glenn Pruden — who was admired for his culinary genius, creativity and dedication to dining services — died on July 16, according to a July 17 email from University of Richmond chaplain Craig Kocher to the UR community. 

Pruden died following a long-term illness, according to Kocher's email. Pruden worked in University Dining Services for 41 years, where he served as a catering production manager, assistant director of residential dining and executive chef before he took his final role as director of residential dining in 2017, according to the email.

“If there was something new and trending [in the culinary world], Pruden was on top of it,” said Cindy Stearns, assistant director of marketing and special programs for Dining Services. “I have never eaten anything better than what he could produce, and he will be a tremendous loss.”

M. Glenn Pruden worked in University Dining Services for 41 year and was the director of residential dining as of 2017.

Stearns, who worked with Pruden for his entire tenure at UR, said she remembered his immense creativity and determination to make UR Dining Services into the award-winning dining experience it is today.

Stearns said Pruden had hosted resident life seafood boils where participants had boiled their seafood in cleaned paint cans. He also planted an herb garden behind the dining hall so the kitchen could have access to fresh ingredients, Stearns said.

“I remember at one point we didn't have it in our budget for a smoker, and he created his own smoker,” Stearns said.

Pruden shared his culinary love with others by teaching classes for the School of Professional and Continuing Studies's culinary arts program, according to a UR newsroom article. He also worked with and developed a visiting chef program with local high school culinary divisions, Stearns wrote in a July 21 email to The Collegian.

“[Pruden] was a very talented, creative man that devoted 41 years to the award-winning food program that is here at the University,” Tyler Betzhold, executive chef of the Heilman Dining Center, wrote in a July 22 email to The Collegian. 

There were a lot of people involved in the success of the dining hall, but Pruden was a true driver of the food, he said.

“He was a phenomenal teacher,” Betzhold said. “There are so many that owe so much to [Pruden] for their careers, and so many more that can cook better meals at home [because of Pruden].”

Pruden was also well known outside of UR for his culinary skills. He was nominated for Virginia Chef of the Year in 2006 and selected as one of five national winners for Produce Excellence in Foodservice, according to the Dining Service's website.

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Pruden even helped carve pumpkins for the White House Halloween graveyard in 2011, according to Kocher’s email.

“He was just a great guy that cannot be replaced,” Betzhold said. “He will be dearly missed, and we will work every day to make him proud and to keep the standards he always strived for.”

The UR flag flew at half-staff July 17-19 in recognition of Pruden's death, according to Kocher's email.

Funeral services for Pruden were held on July 24 at 10:30 a.m. at West End Presbyterian Church, with interment following in Westhampton Memorial Gardens, according to a July 20 email from Kocher.

Confidential on-campus resources for grief counseling are Counseling and Psychological Services and the Office of the Chaplaincy.

Non-confidential resources include the Office of Common Ground and the Westhampton College and Richmond College deans’ offices. 

Contact news writer Maeve McCormick at maeve.mccormick@richmond.edu.

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