PULLMAN, Wash. — Marc P. Bates, manager of the Washington State
University Creamery since 1974, received the WSU Alumni Achievement
Award at his retirement reception June 27.
Bates came to WSU from Arlington and holds two bachelor’s degrees — animal
science (1970) and business (1976). After earning his first degree, he completed
an internship in a Safeway ice cream plant, then spent three years in the U.S.
Army as a food and dairy inspection manager. He was hired as creamery
operator at WSU in 1973 and made creamery manager the following year.
During his tenure as manager, WSU cheeses have gained an international
reputation. Professionals from around the world attend WSU cheese
production short courses. Each year, between 50 and 55 full- and part-time
student employees learn all aspects of the creamery business from production
“Our purpose here is teaching and research,” Bates said. “You can’t justify our
existence any other way.”
In 1992, he supervised the move of the creamery, often referred to as
Ferdinand’s Creamery, from Troy Hall to its new $2.5 million facility on the
campus. The creamery produces approximately 330,000 pounds of cheese
annually. Cougar Gold, one of 10 WSU cheeses, accounts for three-fourths of
cheese sales. WSU also offers 14 varieties of ice cream.
During his student days, Bates was employed at the creamery for four years,
and was a member of the Dairy Club and the Dairy Products Evaluation Team,
which he later coached for 15 years. He has been adviser to the Food Science
Club, an active volunteer with the Boy Scouts, and has been selected five
times as an official judge at U.S. cheese and American cheese championship
Several WSU cheeses have won awards at national and world cheese
competitions. In 1995, Bates received a WSU President’s Employee Excellence