Falk College Celebrates 100 Years of Nutrition Education
When nutrition-based courses debuted in 1917 at Syracuse University, cooking laboratories included 24 gas stoves, one fireless cooker and a coal range. What a difference a century makes.
In celebration of 100 years of nutrition education, Falk College hosted nearly 150 guests, including current students, alumni, community partners, current and retired faculty and staff, and other members of the campus and local communities at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown on Sept. 22. The evening included remarks by event chairperson, Lynn Brann, associate professor of nutrition; Falk College Dean Diane Lyden Murphy; and Vice Chancellor and Provost Michele Wheatly. In addition to networking and reminiscing, attendees enjoyed a silent auction that raised more than $2,000 to support nutrition students’ community service, research efforts and study abroad experiences.
The anniversary commemoration continued the following day at the Falk Complex with lectures and cooking demonstrations by alumni on topics ranging from adding flavor to heart health and empowering registered dietitians in using social media to emphasizing local, sustainable food and mindful eating. Special guests included nutrition alumna Rhoda Dearman Morrisroe and her husband, Paul, whose generous support created the Nutrition Assessment, Consultation and Education (ACE) Center in Falk College, and Falk alumna Susan R. Klenk, whose support made the Klenk Learning Café and Kitchens possible. Also in the audience were Syracuse alumni Helaine and Marvin Lender, whose family supported a food laboratory dedicated in Slocum Hall in 1988.
Daina Falk, founder and chief executive of Hungry Fan, and the daughter of Syracuse University alumni and Falk College benefactors, David B. and Rhonda S. Falk, conducted a cooking demonstration titled, “Keeping Hungry Fans Happy with a Healthy Half-Time.” Alumna and keynote speaker Wendy Demark-Wahnefried ’88 addressed the role nutrition science can play in reducing the nation’s burden of cancer. Demark-Wahnefried is the Webb Endowed Chair of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Nutrition education at Syracuse University emerged during World War I when the field of nutrition science was in its infancy. Around that time, the American Home Economics Association canceled its annual meeting due to member obligations to World War I efforts. A small group of dietitians met in the Cleveland Hospital basement to discuss how to better communicate with one another and assist in the war effort. From this meeting, the American Dietetic Association, the professional organization for nutrition and dietetics recently renamed the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, was founded. Along with Syracuse University, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates 100 years this year.
“The founding members of the nutrition program here were forward thinkers who were ahead of their time. These faculty members were accomplished female scientists who built the foundation for the nationally recognized program that stands today. We honor these founders and the many others who followed in their footsteps with the shared goal of providing good-quality nutrition to all for the betterment of society,” says Brann.
While acknowledging the faculty and staff over the decades who played a critical role in the lives of the 2,078 nutrition, nutrition science and dietetics alumni around the world, Dean Murphy referenced former College of Home Economics Dean Annie MacLeod, who was a firm believer that education should not be confined to the classroom. “Among the earliest examples of service learning in Falk College’s history is one attributed to nutrition students who responded to an urgent call from the city’s Welfare Department to help mothers prepare healthy, appetizing meals from their food distribution packets. Dean MacLeod’s philosophy was especially embraced in the nutrition programs then, and that continues today. I couldn’t be prouder of our nutrition faculty and staff’s dedicated approach to theory-to-practice learning that makes social responsibility and social justice a priority today,” says Murphy.