PULLMAN – The Seattle Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) has created an endowed scholarship in honor of Gretchen Mathers in the WSU School of Hospitality Business Management. The scholarship fund will recognize merit and potential of women pursuing a degree in hospitality, although financial need can be considered.

As a leadership, not-for-profit 501(c)3, society of women of achievement in the fields of food, beverage and hospitality, LDEI and its Seattle Chapter contribute to their communities through education, scholarships, and mentoring. The Seattle chapter was founded in 1989 and consists of 53 members, including chefs, winemakers, cookbook authors, caterers, restaurateurs, chocolatiers, food photographers, and consultants. For more information, visit their Web site at www.lesdamesseattle.com.

“We are proud to honor Gretchen Mathers with this endowed scholarship in the School of Hospitality Business Management,” says Linda Burner Augustine, scholarship chair for the Seattle Chapter of LDEI. “Gretchen was a loyal supporter of Washington State University and played an active role in the success of Les Dames.”

Gretchen Ann Mathers was a 1962 graduate of WSU with a degree in Foods and Nutrition. Her career in the restaurant and hospitality industry is legendary and included a 20 year partnership with Schwartz Brothers Restaurants encompassing Gretchen’s Shoebox Express, Columbia River Bakery, and Schwartz Brothers Bakery. She won the prestigious Nellie Cashman Award as Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, was the first woman President of the Restaurant Association of Washington, served on the Board of the National Restaurant Association, was a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business, and received one of the 2007 WSU School of Hospitality Business Management Awards in addition to other recognitions. She co-founded the Seattle Les Dames Chapter, served as its President and then served as 1st Vice President and President of LDEI.

“I had the great pleasure of knowing Gretchen personally. Her creativity, passion, and knowledge permitted her to be a trend-setter and national figure in the food service industry,” said Director of the School of Hospitality Business Management and Taco Bell Distinguished Professor Terry Umbreit. “During her life, we continued to be astonished by her accomplishments and achievements. This scholarship is a worthy recognition for a true entrepreneur and prominent women leader such as Gretchen.”

The WSU College of Business is accredited at the baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral levels by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The college spans the four campuses of WSU with the largest campus in Pullman and urban campuses located in Spokane, Vancouver, and the Tri-Cities area. The college conducts scholarly and applied research, and offers degree programs in a variety of business disciplines, and in hospitality business management, supplementing face-to-face offerings through innovative online learning and international programs. For more information, visit the college’s Web site at www.business.wsu.edu.  
 
Anyone wishing to make contributions to this scholarship in honor of Gretchen Mathers may send a tax-deductible donation made out to WSU Foundation, P.O. Box 644847, Pullman, WA 99164-4847 and denote Seattle Chapter LDEI Mathers/SHBM in the memo line.