Last Wednesday, Director of dining services Bob Volpi announced the appointment of Gayle Donohue as the new assistant director of student dining. Donohue had been serving as the manager of Mission Park dining hall at the time of her appointment, and has been a part of the College community since 2005. She will be replacing Chris Abayasinghe, who took the position of Director of Food Services at Notre Dame on Oct. 21, 2013.
The decision to promote Donohue was made by a committee led by Administrative Director of Divisional Affairs Aaron Gordon and comprised of students and members of the faculty and staff. The committee opened up the position to applicants from across the nation, and of the six or so candidates that progressed to the interview level, Donohue was the only affiliate of the College. “Throughout the process, [Donohue] really came to the top,” Volpi said, “I strongly agreed with the committee that she was the right choice.”
Volpi cited Donohue’s experience collaborating with Real Food and her work on allergy awareness as demonstrative of her capability to make a difference in the Dining Services. “I think it’s critical that whoever was chosen had a good understanding of what Real Food is all about. Certainly [Donohue] had that having worked with Real Food Challenge and the Zilkah Center,” Volpi said. “Also, the other important parts of the job include allergy awareness, and [Donohue] recently took on one of our assignments to look at how we label our food and has done an incredible job working with our nutritionist to get our labeling so that it really has better meaningful notations of what the allergens are.”
Volpi feels that Donohue meets all the components of his philosophy for running dining services smoothly. “In my mind there are four imperatives that are really essential to making the dining experience its best: building a relationship, understanding diversity, developing sustainability and being a good steward,” Volpi said. “When
you put those four strategic imperatives together, you know that [Donohue] is the right person. At least in my mind, I think that [Donohue] is the right person.”
Donohue has risen up the ranks of dining services. She started here as assistant manager of the Faculty House and was then promoted to manager of Greylock dining hall. She was later transferred to Driscoll and Mission dining halls.
“I wanted to become the assistant Director of Student Dining to continue to realize our shared vision to be the best Student Dining in the nation through pride in sustainability, diversity, relationship building and thoughtful financial stewardship,” Donohue said. “We keep our eye on food cost ut it is not the totality of what we do. Food is at the center of the decisions I make and the way I manage and structure my team. I want to build relationships with students and staff, to form meaningul bonds.”
“I’m excited. I really am. She’s the perfect addition to the senior team,” Volpi said.