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Alumna Mary Ellen Burris receives University's Hutchison Medal

Alumna Receives University of Rochester Hutchison Medal

Warner School of Education alumna Mary Ellen Burris ‘68W (Mas) will be presented with the 2018 Charles Force Hutchison and Marjorie Smith Hutchison Medal at the University of Rochester’s 168th Commencement Ceremonies. She will be honored for her outstanding achievement and notable service on Saturday, May 19 at the Warner School Commencement Ceremony and again on Sunday, May 20 at the University’s College Commencement Ceremony.

Burris is senior vice president of Consumer Affairs for Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.  In 1971, she joined Wegmans as the voice of the consumer, and today is now responsible for customer services, food safety and quality assurance, community relations, public relations, nutrition programs and sustainability.

Through the years, Burris has been a respected figure in the Rochester community. She has used her knowledge of human development to find creative ways to empower millions of Wegmans shoppers to live healthier lives. Serving as the voice for Wegmans patrons, she has turned her attention to some of the most pressing concerns of consumers across communities, including the obesity epidemic, food safety, and rising food prices.

Burris has had a tremendous impact on the health and well-being of millions of families along the East Coast through the company’s “Eat Well, Live Well” program that she helped initiate. She has also been a force behind the company’s waste reduction practices. A leader in the food retail industry, Burris has also been a national voice on food safety and an advocate on topics, ranging from safer cleaning products to promoting local farms.

“Throughout her work and life, Mary Ellen has remained an educator committed to improving the human condition,” says Dean Raffaella Borasi. “She has also served as a passionate advocate for the Warner School and the University of Rochester.”

At Warner, Burris has been a valued and committed member of the Dean’s Advisory Council since 2005. She also serves on the Warner National Council and the Advisory Council for the Center for Urban Education Success (CUES), which supports the success of K-12 urban schools both locally and nationally through a combination of clinical and academic research, relationship-building with other institutions, and a commitment to pursue and share best practices.

She is also a member of the policy team for Healthi Kids, a grassroots, community-based initiative in Monroe County administered by Common Ground Health. She was a founding member of The Healing Connection, a non-profit organization that provides treatment for eating disorders, and a founding member of the national Care for Produce Safety.

Burris has received the Food Marketing Institute’s Esther Peterson Award for consumer service, the Chairman’s Award from the New York Wine and Culinary Center (now New York Kitchen), and United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Award for exemplary leadership. After earning a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University, she received a master’s degree in education from the Warner School.