Written by Darcie R. Shinberger, Executive Director of University Communications

The International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) has established the John Tracy Endowed Scholarship for supply chain management (SCM) majors at Western Illinois University in honor of the executive chair of Dot Foods in Mt. Sterling, Illinois. Tracy has served as the executive chair since 2017 and chaired the IFDA 2018-2019.

To be considered for the Tracy Scholarship, students must be a supply chain management (SCM) major, with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better and be eligible to work in the United States on a full-time permanent basis, with preference given to students who are active in extracurricular activities, and/or are working while attending WIU and who are from Brown, Pike, Adams, Schuyler, Cass, or McDonough counties. The $50,000 endowment ($25,000 from IFDA and a $25,000 match from Tracy) will provide scholarships for two SCM students annually.

"Dot Foods has been a tremendous partner with WIU over the years, providing internship opportunities for our students, along with field trips and study experiences for our supply chain program, as well as employing many of our SCM graduates," said Brad Bainter, executive director of the WIU Foundation. "We appreciate the International Foodservice Distributors Association establishing an endowed scholarship in honor of John Tracy of Dot Foods. This generous gift provides even more outstanding opportunities for our SCM students."

Tracy joined Dot Foods in 1980 and has held several positions throughout the organization in sales, marketing, and operations. He was named president in January 1997 and chief executive officer (CEO) in 2006.

In 2016, he added responsibilities as board chair. Tracy lives in St. Louis, with his wife, Linda, and works in Dot's Mt. Sterling and St. Louis offices. He has served on several boards of nonprofit and for-profit companies, including Dot Foods, Sheetz, Inc., the Mt. Sterling Community Center YMCA, Alzheimer's Association, Regional Business Council, IFDA, and NAW. 

"John Tracy is a true industry leader, who, during his tenure as IFDA board chair, played a pivotal role in advancing strategic priorities that drive the foodservice distribution industry's shared goals forward, uncovers innovative solutions to market challenges, and leads foodservice distribution into the future," said Mark S. Allen, IFDA president and CEO.

"I'm really appreciative of IFDA for their generosity in establishing this scholarship at WIU," Tracy said. "I've seen firsthand the talented students that come out of WIU's supply chain program. Linda and I are happy to support the program and the students who will make a mark on the future of our industry." 

IFDA is the premier trade organization representing the $280 billion foodservice distribution industry. IFDA contributes to the growth, development, and success of the foodservice distribution industry through outstanding advocacy, events, research, and education. IFDA's membership spans the breadth of the industry to include broadline, systems, convenience, and specialty foodservice distributors that supply food and related products to over 1 million professional kitchens daily. Foodservice distributors are vital drivers of the American economy with a total employment impact of more than 1 million jobs.