Matthew White, Director of Campus Commerce at the University of Reading, has been appointed an MBE for services to the public sector catering and hospitality industry.

Matthew was chairman of TUCO from 2016 until 2020, with many achievements accomplished along the way, including:

  • Matthew and TUCO helped create and launch the first master’s degree course for public sector caterers in collaboration with London South Bank University (LSBU) School of Law and Social Science.
  • Personally spearheaded a campaign to support Marys Meals, a charity providing life-changing meals to children in Malawi, raising more than £100,000 for the charity.
  • His success at promoting innovation, upskilling staff and driving down costs secured him a place on Cost Sector Caterings ‘Top 20 public sector most influential’ for 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

In his role as the leader of the University’s catering services for the past 18 years, Matthew has overseen major improvements including the engagement with the Menus of Change initiative, which promotes innovative ways for universities around the world to serve sustainable food.

Thanks to his leadership, staff and students at the University of Reading now have better access to a range of sustainable, healthy and culturally appropriate food.

Here, Matthew responds to receiving such a prestigious accolade:

Dear TUCO Colleagues

I am very honoured that Her Majesty The Queen, in the New Years Honours List,  has conferred the Queens Award of MBE upon me for ‘services to the public sector catering and hospitality industry’.

MBE stands for, Member of the Order of the British Empire.

I am very humbled and equally very excited, as well as hugely surprised by this amazing award and I want you to know that I owe much of this honour to the fabulous TUCO Family as the award recognises my work on the TUCO Board and as your past Company Chairman, so a huge thank you from me for all your support, friendship, and ever present professionalism and dedication to TUCO.

I want to dedicate and share this award with my TUCO colleagues. We are all on the front line of student and staff experience and this award is for us all in recognition of the work we all do, day in, day out.

During my time as Chairman, I set up several initiatives that we all now benefit from such as the TUCO Academy, Its MA in University Hospitality Operations and the Chairs Charity, which the TUCO family have donated over £120k to in school feeding charity, Mary’s Meals. None of this would have been possible without the support and energy of Team TUCO, The Board, Regional Chairs and of course the most important of all, the members, so thank you!

I am so proud of the work you all do at TUCO and in universities and colleges across the country and I look forward to the years ahead as we all build back better from recent years and the effects of COVID19.

So thank you for all your wonderful support and I hope once the pandemic allows, we can come together and raise a glass in celebration of this great honour for us all.

Happy New Year to you all!

Matt White MBE

Director of Campus Commerce – University of Reading