The Grand Medal is a symbol of Food Science academic excellence. It was initiated to demonstrate the commitment, dedication and success of those students attaining the consistency of a grade point average of at least 3.5 over the previous two successive semesters.
The historic symbolism for our Grand Cru Award is appropriately taken from – “hard work” – often referred to by the ancients is people “toiling in the vineyards.” The result of that effort was, of course, grapes. Consistency quality differences between one vineyard and another were recognized in the 9th century by Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor, in what is now the Burgundy Region of France.
Over the next several hundred years, the monks and nuns who toiled in the vineyards amassed empirical knowledge about how to cultivate their vines in order to achieve the highest quality grapes. A pecking order of excellence evolved during the renaissance. Good quality grapes were identified by the township name in which they grew. Better quality became known as the Premier Cru or ‘first growth’. But the very finest vineyards became known as the ’Grand Cru’, or ‘great vineyards’. And so it remains a cherished symbol of pride from which we have borrowed heavily.
As Olympic athletes earn their medals, it is with this specifically designed and cast Purdue Food Science Grand Cru medallion that we honor those students who have demonstrated the traditions of toiling in the vineyards of knowledge and truth.