Students, Staff Say They Will Miss HDS Director

Michael P. Berry, director of Harvard Dining Services (HDS), will be sorely missed when he leaves to assume the post of vice president at Disneyland, students and staff said yesterday.

Berry has been widely praised for his responsiveness to both HDS staff and students.

"He adopted a very open door policy," said Ed Salerno, manager of Leverett House's dining hall. "He would always make time for [the staff]."

General Manager of Quad Dining Services John Aiken praised Berry's ability to consolidate all HDS to form a team, and to help make it "as good as [it] can be."

Aiken emphasizes that Berry was "instrumental" in making things happen. "He was the facilitator."


His colleagues praise Berry as dynamic and charismatic.

Aiken said he has particularly enjoyed working for a man with such energy and vision.

He said Berry does not fear change or the implementation of new ideas, adding that Berry's energy has infected all employees of HDS.

"Employees are proud of the food and service they can offer...and can have great relationships with the students," said Aiken. "They are confident with the job they are doing."

Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 credits Berry with "spirited innovations and enormous flexibility...all the special meals in the houses, the availability of alternative menus and the huge success of Loker Commons."

"He will be very hard to replace. He is a wonderful person...and Disney is fortunate to be getting him," Lewis said.

Berry was also instrumental in implementing the Crimson Cash system and in the success of Loker Commons, developments that have been widely acclaimed by students, according to Lewis.

Berry said his goal at Harvard has been to focus the food program on the students.

"What we do affects the quality of campus life and affects students' academic experience," Berry told The Crimson two days ago. "We serve the best students and university in the world and need to treat them that way."

According to Jane Kelley of HDS Purchasing, the former checker at Adams House, students' accolades for Berry are "the greatest tribute, since service to the students is what it's all about."

And students do appear to have appreciated Berry's work as the director of HDS. Several students commented yesterday on the friendliness and responsiveness of HDS workers.

"We have a very responsive dining hall [staff]. They like to get feedback and make great efforts to improve their service," Arthur Dobelis '96 said.

In addition to better service, many seniors said they have noticed improvement in the food since their first year at Harvard.

"[The food is] more adventurous and more interesting," said Aaron Goldberg '96. "Aside from quality, variety is very important."

Berry said Disney has been trying to recruit him since November. Though he said he was reluctant to leave Harvard, he decided to accept Disney's offer.

Berry said he will miss Harvard as much as he will be missed. He described Harvard students as "absolutely unique...the most together, sensitive and caring group of people.

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