Service and dedication, two words that are synonymous with Dr. Carolyn Dunn, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and former department head for Agricultural and Human Science (AHS). It all came full circle on February 10 when the Dinah E. Gore Teaching and Research Kitchens pantry was dedicated to her in a surprise ceremony. In 2017 at a departmental retreat, Dunn and Dr. Ben Chapman crafted a vision of where the department could go in the area of foods and nutrition. With the department’s dedication to research and education in food and agriculture, it was missing one key ingredient: a kitchen. They devised a plan to transform a storage space at 4101 Beryl Rd. into a state-of-the-art teaching and research kitchen complex, a place that could be a hub for observational research studies, training workshops, educational video shoots and more.
Geri Bushel, AHS executive assistant, joined Dunn in spearheading the project. One particularly memorable instance was when they carried a large refrigerator through the construction zone. Bushel states that “It brings me sheer joy to enter the Dinah E. Gore Kitchens and Dr. Carolyn Dunn’s Pantry is in clear view. She made it happen and this honor is well deserved.” The innovative kitchen complex’s philosophy is that the best way to learn to cook is by being in the kitchen, cooking and that everyone can learn to cook delicious, healthy, and safe meals.
Catherine Hill, who manages the kitchen, says that “Dr. Dunn’s vision of building a teaching and research kitchen became a reality due to her infectious passion and hard work. I can think of no better way to honor her extraordinary career than with a named space in the very kitchen complex she helped create.” Current department head Chapman, when asked about Dunn’s contributions, said “The products of Carolyn Dunn’s career are so much more than the impactful programs, publications and leadership she has provided in the areas of food, nutrition and family & consumer sciences. Her true legacy is the passion she continues to bring to our department whether it’s mentoring faculty, creating cutting-edge spaces or being an advocate for the health and wellbeing of the families of North Carolina.”
Dunn states that “The Dinah E. Gore Teaching and Research Kitchens is the most significant project of my career at NC State. To have my name on the pantry is beyond anything I could have ever dreamed. I am filled with gratitude and joy and thank everyone who helped make this happen.” She has so many fond memories in the kitchen from the building process to current day work in the space developing recipes and teaching. Her fondest memory to date has to be opening night on February 1, 2019. “Seeing Dinah Gore cut the ribbon and everyone who made the kitchen possible enter the space in awe is something I will never forget. Everyone was so proud of what they had made happen with their vision and commitment” says Dunn. With Dunn being there in the beginning, it’s fitting that the last named space is dedicated to her. “When thinking about the best way to honor Carolyn’s contribution to our department, NC State extension and the university community, there was no question that naming a space in our kitchens was the ideal way to recognize her impacts and importance.” says Chapman.