Professor Elwood F. Caldwell, the first department head of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota, passed away on May 22, 2018.
A native of Canada, Elwood graduated from the University of Manitoba before going on to hold a quality assurance chemist position in flour milling, brewing, malting, vegetable oil processing and cookie and cracker baking in his home country. He then went on to receive his M.A. in food science and his Ph.D. in nutrition at the University of Toronto. After moving to Chicago to join the research and development team at Quaker Oats, he earned an M.B.A. in financial management at the University of Chicago followed by a second major in computer science.
A leading accomplishment during his 19 years with Quaker Oats was his discovery, first publication and gaining of legal recognition of the role of phenolic antioxidants in preserving the shelf life of ready-to-eat cereals; now used by most manufacturers and subsequently extended to products such as snacks, instant potatoes and rice.
Moving on from Chicago, Caldwell relocated to Minnesota to become the first head of the Department of Food Science and Nutrition (FSCN), which was created by merging three different departments: the Department of Food Science and Industries (College of Agriculture), Division of Foods (College of Home Economics) and the Division of Nutrition and Food Service Administration (College of Home Economics). He served in this capacity from 1972–1987, the longest serving head for the department in its history.
He is credited with the early success of the newly formed department, helping it become one of the top programs in the nation. He is also recognized as the creator of the department’s Advisory Council, bringing in more than 60 members from industry and government.
Passionate about students, he established the Elwood F. and Florence A. Caldwell Fellowship, fully funding a graduate student in the department, ensuring FSCN continues to attract top graduate students.
While a member of the Chicago Section of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Elwood established the Tanner Lectureship, which is still thriving today and brings outstanding scientific speakers to the section. With the Minnesota Section of IFT, he was responsible for the beginning and subsequent growth of Minnesota’s Suppliers Night with over 250 exhibitors. Elwood also chaired (and raised the initial funding for) the establishment of Minnesota’s Macy Award. Established in 1981, the award is given annually to recognize an outstanding example of food technology transfer or cooperation between scientists in academic, government and private industry.
A major Minnesota section scholarship named in Elwood’s honor is also awarded every year to a qualified applicant, reflecting his commitment to the section after serving as President and chairing/serving on all major committees during his time as a member. The Elwood F. Caldwell Scholarship for Student Volunteer Service is given annually to one student member who demonstrates a commitment to the Minnesota Section by their volunteer service and/or a commitment to the betterment of the community in which they live.
Dr. Caldwell served on major committees of IFT nationally, was elected a Fellow of IFT and in 1991 was the recipient of the Calvert L. Willey award for distinguished service to IFT, serving on numerous committees while a member. He was also a Fellow of AACC International, served as its Scientific Director of Services and Executive Editor of Cereal Foods World, and was the 1996 recipient of its William F. Geddes Memorial Award. In 2002 he was the recipient of AOAC International’s Reference Material Achievement Award.
Professor Caldwell was the President of Phi Tau Sigma, The Honor Society of Food Science and Technology, 1980-81. During his Presidency of Phi Tau Sigma, he and others were recognized for establishing the Dr. Carl R. Fellers Award, which is bestowed annually to an individual who has brought honor and recognition to food science and technology through achievements in areas other than research, development, education and technology transfer. Elwood is also recognized as the founder of the University of Minnesota Phi Tau Sigma Chapter.
More information on arrangements will be shared when it is available.
Star Tribune Obituary (June 3, 2018)