When nutrition courses debuted at Syracuse University, cooking laboratories included 24 gas stoves, one fireless cooker, and a coal range. What a difference a century makes! At the same time, some things haven’t changed: experiential learning thrived in the program’s early years and remains an integral part of the nutrition program today. One of the earliest examples of service learning in Falk College’s history is attributed to nutrition students who responded to an urgent call from the city’s Welfare Department during the Great Depression and helped mothers prepare healthy, appetizing meals from their food distribution packets. Whether it is the nutritional status of adolescents, childhood obesity, diet-related disease epidemics, or dozens of contemporary issues we face today, nutrition at Syracuse has evolved to meet the dynamic needs of the community and continues to be at the forefront of nutrition education.

Use the numbered orange dots to connect events on the timeline with corresponding photos. The photos and historical data are courtesy of University Archives, Syracuse University Libraries, and individual faculty and staff contributors.


1 Syracuse University offers its first course in home economics. The School of Home Economics opens the following year, part of the College of Agriculture housed in Slocum Hall. That same year, the American Home Economics Association cancels its annual meeting because of its members’ obligations to World War I efforts. A small group of dietitians gather in the Cleveland Hospital basement to discuss how to better assist in the war effort. From this meeting, the American Dietetic Association is founded.


Due to rapid expansion, the University’s School of Home Economics is transitioned to the College of Home Economics, with Florence Knapp as founding Dean. In the mid-1920s, the majority of dietitians work in hospitals. Others are employed as cafeteria directors, public health or infant welfare dietitians, as well as nutrition teachers and researchers.


Edith Nason, a distinguished food scientist with a Ph.D. in chemistry from Yale, joins the Syracuse University faculty. 2 Pictured is a late-1920s Syracuse University nutrition lab.


Ancel Keys, physiologist at the University of Minnesota, personally raises money to develop emergency rations, eventually named K-rations, to sustain troops in the field for up to two weeks. Later in 1944, Keys begins the Minnesota Starvation Experiment with 36 conscientious objectors as test subjects to study the physiological and nutritional consequences of semi-starvation among concentration camp survivors.


The Home Economics Club is established. 3 Pictured is the Syracuse University Quad in the 1930s.


Anne Bourquin, who joined the Syracuse University faculty in 1930, helps organize the Onondaga County Home Bureau Food Wagon, a rolling school on canning. She is known for her trailblazing research on riboflavin and rigorous advanced nutrition courses.


The College of Home Economics announces the first Community Nutrition Institute under the direction of the Department of Nutrition, sponsored jointly by Syracuse University and the New York State Department of Health. 4 Pictured are Community Nutrition Institute attendees. 5 Also pictured are nutrition students in the 1940s.


Under the direction of Edith Nason, recipes for the popular Hamilton Beach Food Mixer are tested and used to teach home economists at Syracuse. 6 Pictured is a 1948 scene from the College of Home Economics.


The Delaney Committee starts a Congressional investigation of the safety of chemicals in foods and cosmetics, laying the foundation for the 1954 Miller Pesticides Amendment, the 1958 Food Additives Amendment, and the 1960 Color Additive Amendment.


Syracuse University begins a doctoral degree program in home economics.


U.S. schools receive reimbursement of 8 cents per pint of milk provided to students. This later becomes the Special Milk Program.


By the late 1950s, fast food restaurants are abundant in the U.S. Items such as Cheez Whiz, Sweet’N Low, and Tang are invented and become popular among consumers.


Julia Child’s most notable television program, The French Chef, premieres.


The first kitchen countertop microwave is introduced, selling for $500.


The College of Home Economics begins offering a semester in the Netherlands with courses in nutrition. That same year, John van Hengel opens the world’s first food bank in Phoenix, AZ. St. Mary’s Food Bank, still in operation, distributed more than 250,000 pounds of food to 36 charities in its first year alone.


Starting in the 1970s, global movements concerned with pollution and the environment begin to focus heavily on organic farming. A major goal of the organic movement is to encourage consumption of locally grown food. Slogans such as “know your farmer, know your food” become popular. 7 Pictured are Syracuse nutrition students in the 1970s.


The College of Home Economics is renamed the College for Human Development. Two years later, a major in clinical nutrition is added following approval by the American Dietetic Association. 8 Pictured is a scene from a 1970s Coordinated Dietetics Clinical Conference.


The American Dietetic Association introduces the first National Nutrition Week, which later becomes National Nutrition Month in 1980.


9 Enrollment in the College for Human Development is 645 and tuition is $2,600 per year.


10 Syracuse nutrition professor Sarah Short is featured in The New York Times, who called her teaching methods, such as riding into class on a motorcycle, “outlandish.” Short graduated from the College of Home Economics with a degree in nutrition in 1946. In 2017, she is honored for 50 years of teaching at Syracuse University.

Also in 1975, Saudi Arabia grants Syracuse University’s College for Human Development funding to train Saudi men to run school lunch programs. 11 Pictured are students from Saudi Arabia. That same year, the Kellogg Foundation provides a grant for registered dietitians to earn master’s and doctoral degrees to teach in nutrition/dietetics programs.


12 There are 15 degree programs in the College for Human Development and 138 students in its human nutrition program.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services publish the first Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These are updated and released every five years. From 1980 to 1986, Syracuse University’s Department of Nutrition collaborated with Onondaga Community College’s College for Living program. Syracuse students from the Department of Nutrition and the Department of Special Education taught cooking skills to persons with disabilities.

Syracuse University nutrition professor Victoria Thiele’s 2nd edition of Clinical Nutrition is published by C.V. Mosby Company. It is the textbook for her Diet in Disease course at Syracuse, which later evolves into Medical Nutrition Therapy.


13 Enrollment in the College for Human Development tops 1,000 students for the first time.


14 The Lender Family Laboratory is dedicated in Slocum Hall at Syracuse University. 15 Pictured are hospitality management students in the Lender Lab.

The terrorist attack on Pan Am Flight 103 takes the lives of 35 Syracuse University students returning from a semester of study in London, including two students from the College for Human Development.


The Syracuse University dietetic internship program receives approval from the American Dietetic Association.


From 1998 to 2003, Syracuse University Nutrition Counseling students provide nutrition counseling for the National Security Studies Executive Training participants. Today, students in the course continue to counsel clients using a lifestyles counseling approach.


Nutrition faculty and students at Syracuse collaborate with the Food Bank of Central New York to deliver the CookShop program, which incorporates interesting, hands-on experience with nutritious foods, to elementary school children in and around the City of Syracuse.


Syracuse University nutrition students form the Nutrition Education and Promotion Association (NEPA).


The School of Social Work and College of Nursing, along with two departments in the College for Human Development, merge into a single, multi-disciplinary academic unit at Syracuse University specializing in human services and health professions. In 2001, the College of Human Services and Health Professions opens at the University. The didactic program in dietetics is approved.


From 2005 to 2010, Syracuse graduate and undergraduate nutrition students provide nutrition education at Lion’s Camp Hickory, a summer camp for children with Type 1 diabetes. 16 Syracuse University’s Outreach and Group Nutrition Education by Wellness Responsible Advocating Peers (ORANGE WRAP) is established and begins to serve the campus and community.


17 Nutrition and Hospitality Management move from Slocum Hall to Lyman Hall to accommodate more students and provide updated tools and equipment in two new kitchens. In the fall, an incoming class of 40 students joins over 200 already existing students anxiously awaiting their new facilities.


The College of Human Services and Health Professions is renamed the College of Human Ecology. The following year, the Nutrition and Hospitality Management Department at Syracuse becomes Nutrition Science and Dietetics.


The College of Human Ecology is renamed the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics with support from Syracuse University alumni, David Falk ’72 and Rhonda Falk ’74. The Falk Complex, former home of the College of Law, is dedicated in 2015.


The American Dietetic Association is renamed the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


Syracuse University Food Busters commences at Henninger High School, adding to existing nutrition programs Books and Cooks and Cooking on the Hillside initiated in 2010 and 2011, respectively, in which nutrition students deliver interactive nutrition education with children and adolescents from the Syracuse City School District. 18 Pictured are scenes from these programs. 19 That same year, Falk College dedicates the opening of the Nutrition Assessment, Consultation and Education (ACE) Center, made possible by a gift from Syracuse University nutrition alumna, Rhoda Morrisroe ’69.


20 Falk College dedicates the Susan R. Klenk Learning Café and Kitchens, including commercial and experimental kitchens, made possible by a gift from Syracuse University human development alumna, Susan Klenk ’62.

21 Adding to its Florence study abroad program initiated in 2011, nutrition begins a study abroad program in India.


22 Falk College welcomes supermodel and body image advocate, Emme ’85, as the featured guest for the Third Annual Ann Litt Distinguished Speaker Series, pictured here with Dean Diane Lyden Murphy, Susan Klenk and nutrition faculty. The Litt Lecture is named after nutrition alumna, the late Ann Selkowitz Litt ’75, a nationally known nutritionist who helped children and adolescents with eating disorders and assisted developing athletes in reaching their full potential.