UACES Facebook Food Science marks 50 years of research, teaching and growing an industry
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Food Science marks 50 years of research, teaching and growing an industry

By Mary Hightower

U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts

  • Food Science Department marks 50thanniversary
  • Celebration set for Oct. 18, along with OFPA conventio

(540 words)

(Newsrooms – with file art at:

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In the half-century since its first home was constructed at the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the Food Science Department has nurtured researchers, teachers, students and clients that have helped grow the nation’s food industry. 

CELEBRATION — Food science department 50th anniversary logo (Image courtesy of UA System Division of Agriculture Food Science Department)

On Oct. 18, Food Science host its 50thanniversary celebration, “Past, Present and Perseverance,” at the Don Tyson Center for Agricultural Sciences. The celebration is being conducted with the events of the Ozark Food Processors Convention. OFPA has been a strong ally of the department, funding facilities and hundreds of scholarships over the decades.

“The Food Science Department, with its researchers, teachers and extension outreach, have always maintained that most essential link between farm and food, and we are very proud of that work,” said Mark Cochran, vice president-Agriculture for the University of Arkansas System. “With its work within the land grant mission, this dynamic department reminds us that in Arkansas and the rest of the world, we are still strongly connected to production agriculture and the all of the changing demands that the consumer places on the modern supply chains.”

Jean François Meullenet, director of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, spent 10 years as Food Science Department head.

“During my 22 years in food science, I have seen the department expand greatly in number of faculty, students, and both research productivity and impact,” he said. “As a result, the department has climbed in national rankings to become a top five program in the country. The faculty is both nationally and internationally respected and the food science discipline has become an indispensable part of our research portfolio.

“I look forward to seeing the department continue to expand its research to solve some of the grand challenges surrounding the food supply,” Meullenet said.

Charlie Sims, professor in Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is among the department’s many distinguished alumni.

“I spent 10 years in the Food Science Department at UA, and they were certainly some of the best years of my life,” he said. “I loved all the professors in food science, but especially my major adviser for my MS and Ph.D. programs, Justin Morris, and learned a great deal from all of them.    

“I have so many good memories and stories that I will always cherish,” Sims said. “I feel my education and experiences in the food science department prepared me very well for my career in food science, and I am very grateful to the department for what it gave me.”

Wayne Mackay, who serves as interim department head for Food Science and is also head of Horticulture Department, said that “the Food Science department has evolved from its beginnings with a high focus on horticultural crops to encompass a wide variety of subject areas that now include sensory science, food processing, food engineering, food microbiology, food chemistry, as well as human nutrition.”

It’s the diversity of multidisciplinary work among faculty that led to the department’s high ranking.

The research efforts have resulted in many processes and practices that have improved the food industries in the state and led to close association with the many food companies in and outside of Arkansas,” Mackay said.

This celebration is for anyone who is or has been a part of the Food Science Department. There is no charge to attend the Food Science anniversary celebration, but attendees are asked to RSVP to Megan White,

Guests to the celebration are also invited to register for the OFPA conference online. The cost for OFPA registration is $125 per person before the conference, and $175 per person on-site.

For more information, call 479-575-4607.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses. 

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact 479-575-4607 as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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