2020 Meritorious Service Award

William Hildebolt

2020 Meritorious Service Award recipient

BS 1966, MS 1967, PhD 1969 Food Technology, Horticulture 

Bill is known for being a strong advocate for students’ financial stability while earning their degrees, and he hopes to encourage current CFAES students to pursue their own futures with the help of financial support. As a student, he used money from selling his 4-H steers to pay for his first two undergraduate years at Ohio State.

Following his time as a CFAES student, Bill established three separate funding endeavors benefiting current and future CFAES students: The Hazen and Anna Jane Hildebolt Preble County Scholarship; The William and Sandra Hildebolt Food Science and Technology Hall of Distinction Endowment Fund; and the Show Me the Data! endowment, which enables and benefits CFAES’ acclaimed, student-run, campuswide “Citation Needed” speaker series.

Bill dedicated a significant portion of his career working for the Campbell Soup Company, where he rose to the rank of vice president of research and development. He is credited with roughly 20 patents, and he was the leader of the development of Prego spaghetti sauce. Bill also served as the vice president of research and development for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. He currently uses his experiences from his family farm and his composting research for Nature’s Select Premium Turf Services, Inc., which he founded and owns.

In 2014, Bill was inducted into CFAES’ Food Science and Technology Hall of Distinction and was named on the “100 Buckeyes You Should Know” list by Ohio State’s Alumni Association. He also received the CFAES Distinguished Alumni Award in 2017 and the CFAES Department of Food Science and Technology Meritorious Service to Students Award in 2018.

Amidst all of this, Bill co-authored a book titled It’s In There!, which is based on his experience in the product development department at Campbell Soup Company. Proceeds from his book sales directly support student scholarships.

Bill says college students need to develop critical thinking skills and gain experience beyond the classroom to promote science. For it is through the students of today that, as he calls it, “pseudoscience and urban mythology” regarding genetic products will be combatted. “Whether it is landscape, lawn care, or farming, everyone’s a critic,” he says.