David Prentkowski Honored by the National Association of College and University Food Services

Author: Lisa Wenzel


Notre Dame Food Services’ own Director has been honored with the introduction of the David R. Prentkowski Distinguished Lifetime Member Award created by the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS).  This award (formerly the Distinguished Lifetime Member Award) renamed in Dave’s honor, was originally created in 1990 to honor retired members who have supported the betterment of college and university foodservice and the association throughout their careers. 

“Dave’s leadership, guidance, and tireless efforts to advance the mission of NACUFS have been instrumental in shaping the association,” said Nona Golledge, NACUFS president and director of dining at the University of Kansas. “He truly embodies the spirit of this great organization, and the board of directors is enthusiastic about recognizing his legacy in this way.”

In addition to leading Notre Dame Food Services (NDFS) for over 20 years, Dave has been a leader in NACUFS throughout his career.  Prior to coming to the University of Notre Dame, Dave was the Director at the University of Michigan and, before that, the University of Utah.  Dave’s roots can be found at Purdue University where he not only went to school receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, but also worked in food service.  Holding many voluntary roles within NACUFS, Dave served as the association’s president from 1996-1997.  Now he serves on the bi-laws committee “for life.”

Dave has been recognized by NACUFS, the University of Notre Dame, and the Food Service Industry.  He was previously recognized for his service with the Richard Lichtenfelt Award in 2001, and received the association’s top honor, the Theodore W. Minah Distinguished Service Award, in 2006 by NACUFS.  The University’s student body has honored Dave with the Irish Clover Award in both 1998 and 2012 for his contribution to student life.  The International Foodservice Manufacture Association (IFMA) awarded Dave the Silver Plate for college and universities in 2005, an award given out for over 50 years “recognizing excellence to encourage excellence” in the food service industry. 

Over the past 20 years, Dave has brought to the University over 15 new restaurants and counting.  His work in enhancing the student meal plan has allowed countless more opportunities for dining meeting the flexible needs of today’s student.  Each day Dave positively influences the lives of over 300 staff members. 


Founded in 1958, the National Association of College & University Food Services is the professional trade association for foodservice professionals at institutions of higher education in the United States, Canada, and abroad. NACUFS provides its more than 550 institutional and 500 industry members with educational, networking, and professional development opportunities and a variety of informational publications, and it is also heavily involved in industry research.