News & Events
Spence Receives Clarkson University’s Top Alumni Honor
[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/spence-gk.jpg ]
Potsdam, N.Y. - Jean E. Spence of Wilmette, Ill., executive vice president of Research, Development and Quality for Kraft Foods, has received the Golden Knight Award from her alma mater, Clarkson University.
Presented each year during Reunion Weekend, Clarkson’s most prestigious alumni award is given to alumni who have distinguished themselves either by service to Clarkson through Alumni Association activities or have demonstrated outstanding career achievement, bringing distinction to themselves and to Clarkson.
Jean Spence received her bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Clarkson in 1979. In 1985, she received a master of science degree in chemical engineering from Manhattan College. While at Clarkson, she was a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers and Zeta Gamma Sigma.
In 1981, Spence joined Kraft as a research engineer for Maxwell House coffee and holds three U.S. and worldwide patents for her development work. She held a variety of management positions in research and development and human resources before being named quality assurance director in 1993. A year later, she was named research director of beverages then became group director for beverages and desserts in 1995. She was promoted to vice president of Technology in 1996 and vice president of Worldwide Quality and Scientific Relations in 1999.
In November 2001, she was appointed senior vice president of Worldwide Quality, Scientific Affairs and Compliance for Kraft Foods North America, and was responsible for quality on a worldwide basis, coordinating global compliance programs, scientific relations, regulatory issues, microbiology, food safety and auditing. In August of 2003, she was named senior vice president of Research & Development. In that role, she oversaw basic research and product, package and process development. She was promoted to her present position in 2004.
Prior to joining Kraft, Spence worked in manufacturing as a process supervisor for Procter and Gamble in Staten Island, New York.
Spence is on the front line of food safety representing the food industry on the Department of Homeland Security Private Sector Advisory Council and for the International Life Sciences Institute, a Washington, D.C.,-based lobby group funded by food, chemical and drug companies. She serves on the GMA Science Institute Executive Committee.
Since 2006, Spence has been a member of the Clarkson University Board of Trustees. She has served Clarkson as a member of the Clarkson Alumni Council, Board of Governors, class reunion activities chair and as a volunteer for alumni career days and off-campus career programs. She also is a member of the Annie Clarkson Society.
Spence lives in Wilmette, Ill., with her husband, Robert ’79; son, Danny; and daughter, Kerry.
Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.
Photo caption: Jean E. Spence of Wilmette, Ill., executive vice president of Research, Development and Quality for Kraft Foods, has received the Golden Knight Award from her alma mater, Clarkson University. Left to right: Clarkson University President Tony Collins, Spence, and Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations Steve Newkofsky.