Catherine Gaffney - Outstanding Alumni Award

Catherine GaffneyCathy Gaffney credits Wegmans with giving her the support to make decisions with both her mind and her heart, which has led to innovative partnerships between CALS, Wegmans and the New York dairy industry.

As vice president of the Specialty Cheese, Deli, and Kosher Deli Departments at Wegmans Food Markets, she is responsible for sourcing the cheeses that delight and satisfy their customers. Although her position requires significant globe-trotting, Gaffney is a strong proponent of local food and helping motivated entrepreneurs grow their businesses. She has a reputation for taking keen personal interest in producers and working hard to address any problems they are experiencing, from the details of sourcing a piece of equipment to strategies for improving their product quality.

Gaffney is uniquely positioned to build the knowledge within and opportunities for the cheese community as whole, launching a Made in NY cheese program two years ago, through which Wegmans and Cornell offered new training opportunities for large- and small-scale cheesemakers while providing a market for their products. In addition, she was behind the From Family Farms Near Our Stores program that debuted this summer. Gaffney has been a statewide leader in helping put the “big net” of CALS and Cornell to work for the cheese producers in the state.

Gaffney has been active in the CALS Alumni Association and has served through the CALS Advisory Council, the Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network, and the Cornell Extern program. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband, John, and daughter, Mary.