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Ivar’s CEO gets close look at home of Cougar Gold

Group standing in office, with Donegan holding can of cheese.
WSU-UI School of Food Science chair Barb Rasco and CAHNRS Dean André-Denis Wright, left, welcome Bob Donegan, CEO of Ivar’s, and Lisa Donegan, right, to the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (Seth Truscott-WSU Photo).


Welcoming the CEO of Ivar’s to Washington State University, André-Denis Wright, Dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, and scientists in the WSU-UI School of Food Science met Bob Donegan, chief executive of the popular Northwest seafood restaurant chain.

Visiting WSU on Thursday, Feb. 28, to give the Carson College of Business’s annual Burtenshaw Lecture, Bob and his wife Lisa toured the WSU Creamery and looked in on a cheese-making workshop at a School of Food Science laboratory kitchen, then met Dr. Wright, head of CAHNRS. His visit was an opportunity to become more familiar with the School of Food Science, which helps enhance the Northwest’s food industries, safety and opportunity through research, academics and Extension.

Jointly administered by CAHNRS and the University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), the School of Food Science is unique in the nation, and includes research at centers across Washington and Idaho.

The School includes Ferdinand’s Ice Cream Shoppe and the WSU Creamery, where students learn the science and craft of cheese making, gaining important career-building experience. Starting with milk from cows at WSU’s Knott Dairy Center, more than 240,000 cans of cheese, including the famous Cougar Gold, are sold each year.

Long a favorite of Northwest residents and visitors, Ivar’s Seafood Restaurants and Seafood Bars ( were founded in 1938 by Ivar Haglund. He opened one of Seattle’s first aquariums on Pier 3 and began selling chowder and seafood to satisfy hungry patrons. Today, more than 50 locations bear Ivar’s name.

Group in front of window onto creamery workroom.
Bob and Lisa Donegan visit the observation room at the WSU Creamery with Manager John Haugen and School of Food Science Chair Barb Rasco.
Haugen, center, with the Bob and Lisa Donegan and WSU Foundation’s Alex Pietsch, checking out a cold storage room packed with newly made Cougar cheese.