On Oct. 20, 2023, the University of Lethbridge’s Dhillon School of Business honoured the Perry family and the Perry Family Farm at its annual Scholarship Dinner at the Signature Sandman Lethbridge Lodge. The dinner recognizes outstanding members of the southern Alberta community for their leadership, achievements and commitment to the communities they serve, then sets up a scholarship for business students in the recipient’s honour.

This year, the event that honoured Gerry and Birthe Perry along with their children Harold, Chris and Karen and families, raised $65,000 which was matched by University of Lethbridge Board of Governors funding. The endowed $130,000 will provide approximately $5,000 in scholarships each year in perpetuity, in the name of the Perry family.

President of Perry Quest Ltd. Harold Perry, who is responsible for farm production, says it was a great evening raising money for future Dhillon School of Business students. “We were very grateful for all the individual and full table sponsors who came to celebrate agriculture in southern Alberta, graciously helping us hit our target number to sponsor $5,000 per year in perpetuity.

The Perry family are fourth-generation farmers in Chin, Alberta who have owned and operated their award-winning, 5,280-acre potato farm since 1909. As major supplier for brands such as Frito-Lay, McCain and Bonduelle, the Perrys have won numerous awards for their produce including McCain’s “Top Potato Grower” and Frito-Lay’s Canadian Supplier of the year.

The Perrys are also leaders in data driven and sustainable agriculture. They were McCain Foods Canada National Environmental Award Winner in 2011. In 2013, they designed and constructed the GrowTEC Biogas Plant, which produces over 4,000 MWh of renewable electricity per year from manure and organic waste — enough energy to power 1,000 homes. They have spoken at the Paris Accord and Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue about their sustainable agriculture practices.

Dhillon School of Business Dean and Vice-Provost (Calgary), Kerry Godfrey, says that honouring the Perry Family is true to the core values of the Dhillon School of Business. “We’re a school that encourages our students to collect and analyze data to make informed business decisions while also ensuring long-term sustainability. The Perry family’s commitment to these practices in agriculture has created a business where success is not only measured by today’s performance, but is also measured by how sustainable the business is for future generations.”

The Perry family makes a toast at the 2023 Scholarship Dinner.

President of CKP Farms Ltd. and Grow the Energy Circle Ltd., Chris Perry manages the farm with his brother Harold. Noting that the Scholarship Dinner was filled with insightful conversations among farmers, agriculture food chain industry, representatives from energy, students and ULethbridge faculty and staff, Chris hopes the evening provided a robust understanding of the thriving agriculture scene and Southern Alberta’s incredible opportunities in agriculture business. Specifically, Chris encourages the preparation of students to contribute to evolving Canada’s premier food corridor into a world showcase for sustainable food production.

“Interdisciplinary thought across ULethbridge leadership, students, business curriculum, regenerative agriculture and integrated bioenergy industry must play a part,” Chris says. “We look forward to helping establish the scholarship representing what so many of us in the agriculture industry in Southern Alberta stand for.”

Since its inception in 1988, the annual Scholarship Dinner, has raised over $2 million, generating over $80,000 annually in business student scholarships. Donations to the Perry Family Scholarship Fund can be made here. A tribute video to the Perry’s can also be viewed here.

The Dhillon School of Business at the University of Lethbridge is known for its immersive experiential learning opportunities, connecting learners with industry, its supportive, personalized approach and for exposing students to emerging technology. Study options are available in both Lethbridge and Calgary.