It has been a busy few months since I took on the role of Interim Director, and in that time we have celebrated some annual events and continue to adapt with more personnel changes. In addition, we have moved forward with some long-range planning as well as the development of strategic collaborations with stakeholders.
I want to thank Dr. Denise Smith for her work in establishing our joint School of Food Science program and hiring faculty and staff members who will help propel our school forward and poise our program for long-term growth. Two new faculty members, Dr. Brennan Smith and Dr. Amy Lin, will begin working over the summer at the University of Idaho to establish their respective research and teaching programs.
We will say goodbye to Jim Nelson who is retiring after 14 years as a Research Support Scientist at the School of Food Science. Professor Boon Chew will also be leaving the school this fall to take a new position at Texas A&M. We wish them the best in their future endeavors.
We are mourning the loss of Emeritus Faculty member, Lloyd Luedecke. Several of our staff and faculty attended his memorial last week and cherished the opportunity to remember Lloyd and reconnect with family, friends, colleagues and past students. His legacy with the School of Food Science will continue because of his significant work teaching dairy courses and advising students and years of service to the WSU Creamery.
Twenty-five food science degrees were awarded in May between the UI and WSU. Over 100 family members, friends, faculty and staff celebrated with our graduates at parties on each campus. I interviewed each graduate and am proud of the cohort of students that just completed our program. Over 95% of these students were able to secure a job or graduate school acceptance before leaving campus.
My colleagues and I are looking forward to seeing you at this week’s IFT Annual Meeting in New Orleans. If you will be there, make sure you plan to attend our University of Idaho/Washington State University Reception on Sunday, June 22. Our school will be represented in many presentations and competitions at IFT, so be sure to print out our event schedule (pdf) and take it with you.
Lastly, we look forward to sharing news of growth and success in the coming months regarding student recruitment, collaborative efforts through extension and research across Idaho and Washington, as well as strategic initiatives that will strengthen our curriculum and robust research programs.
Please feel free to communicate with me anytime. If you are in Pullman, stop by my office for a cup of coffee and conversation. We value our relationships with you and intend to strengthen our school through a collective effort of all who value the School of Food Science.
— Barbara Rasco, Interim Director