Dhillon School of Business Scholarship Dinner shines light on sustainability-driven Perry Family Farm

The University of Lethbridge’s Dhillon School of Business recently honoured the Perry family and the Perry Family Farm, all while raising money for student scholarships at its annual Dhillon School of Business Scholarship Dinner.

The event honoured Gerry and Birthe Perry along with their children Harold, Chris and Karen and families, and raised $65,000. When matched by University of Lethbridge Board of Governors funding, an endowed $130,000 is now available to provide approximately $5,000 in scholarships to future Dhillon School of Business students each year in perpetuity, in the name of the Perry family.

Gerald Perry, with family behind, addresses the crowd at the Dhillon School of Business Scholarship Dinner.

“We were very grateful for all the individual and full table sponsors who came to celebrate agriculture in southern Alberta, graciously helping us hit our target number to sponsor $5,000 in scholarships each year in perpetuity,” says Harold Perry, President of Perry Quest Ltd.

The annual Dhillon School of Business Scholarship Dinner recognizes outstanding members of the southern Alberta community for their leadership, achievements and commitment to the communities they serve, while establishing a scholarship for business students in the recipient’s honour.

The Perry family are fourth-generation farmers in Chin, Alberta who have owned and operated their award-winning, 5,280-acre potato farm since 1909. As a major supplier for brands such as Frito-Lay, McCain Foods and Bonduelle, the Perrys have garnered numerous awards for their produce, including McCain’s Top Potato Grower and Frito-Lay’s Canadian Supplier of the Year.

The Perrys are also leaders in data driven and sustainable agriculture. They were McCain Foods’ Canada National Environmental Award Winner in 2011. In 2013, they designed and constructed the GrowTEC Biogas Plant, which produces over 4,000 MWh of renewable electricity per year from manure and organic waste — enough energy to power 1,000 homes. They have also spoken at the Paris Accord and Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue about their sustainable agricultural practices.

Dhillon School of Business Dean and Vice-Provost (Calgary), Dr. Kerry Godfrey, says honouring the Perry Family rings true to the core values of the Dhillon School of Business.

“We’re a school that encourages our students to collect and analyze data to make informed business decisions while also ensuring long-term sustainability,” says Godfrey. “The Perry family’s commitment to these practices in agriculture has created a business where success is not only measured by today’s performance, but also by how sustainable the business is for future generations.”

Chris Perry, President of CKP Farms Ltd. and Grow the Energy Circle Ltd., manages the farm with his brother Harold. He notes the scholarship dinner was filled with insightful conversations among farmers, agriculture food chain industry, representatives from energy, students and ULethbridge faculty and staff. Perry says the evening provided a robust understanding of the thriving agriculture scene and highlighted southern Alberta’s incredible opportunities in agri-business. Specifically, he encourages the Dhillon School’s continued preparation of students to contribute to the evolution of Canada’s premier food corridor into a world showcase for sustainable food production.

“Interdisciplinary thought across ULethbridge leadership, students, business curriculum, regenerative agriculture and integrated bioenergy industry must play a part,” says Perry. “We look forward to helping establish the scholarship representing what so many of us in the agriculture industry in southern Alberta stand for.”

Since its inception in 1988, the annual Dhillon School of Business Scholarship Dinner has raised more than $2 million and generated more than $80,000 annually in business student scholarships. Donations to the Perry Family Scholarship Fund can be made here. A tribute video to the Perry’s can also be viewed here.