FScN 50th Anniversary Celebration


We're celebrating 50 incredible years of the Department of Food Science and Nutrition!

Innumerable accomplishments and contributions to the fields of food and health have made FScN an internationally recognized institution known for revolutionizing the study of nutrition and food. In celebration of this 50 Year Anniversary, we commemorated the work that put us at the forefront of transformational research and community impact these past decades. Moreover, we are taking this opportunity to look toward the Future of Food and Nutrition that lies on the ever changing horizon. Learn more the history of FScN below plus highlights from our Fall 2022 celebration event:

View Photos from our Fall 2022 Celebration Event

Invited Alumni Speakers:

Mary Wagner Headshot

Mary Wagner

Read Bio

History of the Department

Collection of Historical Photos(This section is under continual development. If you would like to contribute, contact [email protected])

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1972 - Founding of the Department

FScN Founders

  • Sam Coulter
  • Howard Morris
  • Elmer Thomas
  • Joe Olson
  • Jim Jieseski

College Changes

  • 'College of Agriculture' became 'College of Agricultural Food, and Environmental Sciences'
  • 'College of Home Economics' became 'College of Human Ecology'


The Department of Food Science and Nutrition formed in July of 1972, with a primary focus on the dairy industry and training young food and nutrition professionals for the careers of the time, which differ quite a bit from today's professions.

1972-1987: A Bright Start

Department Head: Elwood Caldwell

This era was characterized by a broadening of focus, going from solely dairy to other food categories and adding additional major programs. It was a time of initial growth, especially in food science, in which legends of the field were recruited.

1988-1998: 'The Golden Age'

Department Head: Frank Busta

This period of time has often been referred to as the "Golden Age" of FScN, when our reputation as a top program in the country began. The Nutrition major was created and there were ~34 FScN faculty at this time.

1999-2007: Growth & Restructuring

Department Heads: Joseph J. Warthesen & Allen Levine

During this time, more nutrition faculty were recruited, leading to a better balance and collaboration between the two disciplines. Additionally, the Midwest Dairy Foods Research Center was formed with UMN at the head, and significant infrastructure gains were made in the department. In 2006, Al Levine helped lead the formation of CFANS, where he became dean in 2007.

2008-2018: A Changing World

Department Heads: Gary Reineccius, Francisco Diez, Kumar Mallikarjunan

This era is defined by the transformation of higher education at large. As Universities' purposes and goals began to change, this was a time of maintenance and reevaluation for what the department should become and how it should serve its stakeholders.

2020s - Now and Beyond

Department Head: Job Ubbink

COVID, rapid technological advance, and shifting climates (both political and environmental). This is definitely a time of transition and growth. FScN is undergoing a rejuvenation that promises to transform who we are and what we can accomplish.

Learn about the history and current state of our various units and research centers: