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The 'Mealtime Messiah' will soon be leaving his flock.
Michael P. Berry, the man who many feel has revolutionized the way Harvard students eat, will be leaving his post as Director of Harvard Dining Services (HDS) to become vice-president of Disneyland, Berry confirmed last night.
Berry said he will also be in charge of the development of Anaheim Resorts, an entertainment complex of several large restaurants, including Planet Hollywood, and several luxury hotels.
Disney has been recruiting him since November, according to Berry. He said he has repeatedly turned them down.
"I did not want to leave Harvard," said Berry. "There is a big hole in me now. It's been the best five years and three months of my life."
But Berry said he could not turn down their final offer. Disney offered Berry the job as vice-president on Saturday.
He said he accepted on Monday.
"Quite frankly, they gave me everything I could have hoped for," said Berry. "It is a $600 million operation, with great career growth. But it was the saddest day of my life to say 'yes,' when for anyone else, it would have been the happiest."
Berry's changes to Harvard's dining scene include the renovation of the Greenhouse Cafe and other student eateries and increased student input to menus. This year, Berry was responsible for the development of Loker Commons and the implementation of Crimson Cash.
Berry said he is confident HDS will continue its fine work without him.
"The program is such that we will continue to be primarily focused on students," he said.
Berry said he will continue in both positions for several weeks until the transition is made. He is not yet aware of the exact details of his new position at Disney but will be meeting with Disney executives next week.
Jeremy R. Knowles, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, said he could not confirm Berry's departure last night but complimented Berry on his job with HDS.
"Mike Berry is a marvelously imaginative and responsive director," said Knowles. "If he leaves, I fear we shall all lose weight. He would be a very tough act to follow."
Berry said he wishes to thank students for his time here.
"It's been my pleasure to be able to serve you in this small way, and I've received a huge amount of affection back," he said. "I wish you all the best."
And representatives from the Undergraduate Council will also be sad to see Berry go.
Robert M. Hyman '98-'97, presiden of the council, praised Berry for his "accessiblity and honesty."
"He has proven himself time and time again to me, to the council, to the students, that he is primarily concerned with what students are concerned with," said Hyman.
"We love Mike Berry," said Eric D. Albert '98, speaking for the council. "He's one of the most, if not the, most responsive administrators here. We're very sorry to see him go."
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