Syracuse University Registered Dietitian Wins Statewide Honors
If you have ever had a meal in one of Syracuse University’s dining centers, there is a very good chance that Ruth Sullivan ’98 played a major part in what was on your plate.
Sullivan is a registered dietitian and nutrition educator for dining services. She’s keenly aware of what goes into everything prepared and served on campus.
“Ruth really cares about student nutrition,” according to Jamie Cyr, director of Auxiliary Services, “especially those with allergies.” It is that care and attention to detail that has led to Sullivan being named the winner of this year’s Isabelle A. Hallahan award. The award, which is sponsored by the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, recognizes a person who shows great potential in becoming a leader in the dietetics profession and related professional associations.
“I think it’s wonderful,” says Sullivan, who has worked at Syracuse University for nine years. “I’ve taken a program and worked hard at getting to where we are for our students, from special diet needs to planning menus to make sure we meet student needs, and all the while, doing it with a great team of coworkers.”
Sullivan was nominated for the award by the Central New York Dietetic Association. “She’s very deserving,” says Food Services Director David George, who adds that Sullivan “has taken the initiative in our food allergy program, working hard to train our staff and helping students to meet their dietary needs.”
The issue of food allergies and celiac disease (an intolerance of gluten products) is a growing one. Last year alone, there were 150 new students with special dietary needs. “When I started, there were very few,” says Sullivan. It’s an issue for both students and their parents. “I’m already speaking with parents of our incoming freshman class,” she says. “I want both student and parent to feel comfortable, as comfortable as they would be at their dining room table.”
It’s that level of care and attention to detail that led to the award. “It means a lot,” says Sullivan, “not only because it’s from my peers, but it’s also recognition that Syracuse University is working hard to ensure students are well cared for not only in the classroom and on campus, but in our dining centers too.”
This letter, submitted on Sullivan’s behalf by Jamie Cyr, probably says it best.
Please accept this letter of recommendation for Ruth Sullivan, Syracuse University Dietitian, for the Isabelle Hallahan Award for Excellence in Food Service. Ruth is an integral part of the Syracuse University Food Services management team. Her dedication to meeting student dietary needs while displaying sound operational management is truly an asset to Syracuse University.
Ruth exemplifies good management in the food operation by creating special diet plans which meet the medical needs of students while maintaining fiscal responsibility. In essence, on a daily basis Ruth is able to fulfill student dietary restrictions such as food allergies while at the same time staying within budgetary guidelines. During the course of Ruth’s eight years at Syracuse University, the dietary needs of the University community have expanded considerably. While special diets such as gluten free, dairy free and vegan can be expensive to accommodate, Ruth has been able to devise menus which taste good and keep product costs down.
Ruth is a driving force behind the University’s Meatless Monday and vegan offerings in the five dining centers operated on campus. Ruth has an ability to connect with students in order to identify nutritionally beneficial food options which taste good. On a continued basis Ruth personally visits each dining center to examine the quality of the products being served to students. She inspects the presentation and taste of the Meatless Monday offerings, vegan section and the specialty diet sections.
Ruth coordinates with management to meet the requests of student groups on campus. Personally, I rely on Ruth for guidance when dealing with a student with food allergies and special dietary requests. Ruth displays her dedication to students by showing a willingness to meet with individual students at any time of day. I have witnessed Ruth meeting with students in the early morning and into the late evening.
In my opinion, Ruth Sullivan’s continued dedication to the wellbeing of the 8,000 residential students at Syracuse University makes her an excellent choice for the Isabelle Hallahan Award For Excellence in Food Service.