Skip Navigation

About Us

The Department of Food Science is one of many departments at Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS). It opened its door in 1946 in one room with one professor (Walter A. Maclinn, the chair) and two support-staff. The chair chose the department name (Food Science) to emphasize food-related basic science education and research. Additionally, he emphasized harmonious relationships among faculties, support staffs and students. Both emphases are well-established traditions of the department to this day. The department moved to a remodeled Agricultural Engineering Storage Building in 1948. Through the chair's help, an Eating Club started its operations in late 1940's for the benefits of graduate students in the college (the club lasted until early 1970's). The Graduate Program in Food Science was established in 1947 and Undergraduate Program in 1954. C. Olin Ball, a world-renowned authority in thermal processing, joined the department in 1949.


In addition to research and teaching, they were active in their respective scientific/professional societies. For example, one was the president of American Oil Chemists' Society and two were the president of Institute of Food Technologists (a major society for food scientists/technologists). Reflecting excellence in teaching and/or research, many received national/international recognitions and awards from scientific/professional societies. Additionally, these two awards were established in a national professional society, the Institute of Food Technologists. Stephen S. Chang Award for Lipid or Flavor Science in early 1990's and Elizabeth Flemming Stier Award in mid 1990's.

Support Staff

Well-qualified support staff members contributed to the progress of the department. Through the department history, three Facility Engineers worked for the smooth operation of department facilities together with their associates/assistants. Clerical staff assisted professors and graduate students by performing or assisting their day-to-day work. For example, they mastered word-processing scientific manuscripts containing complex scientific symbols and/or advanced mathematical equations in early 1980's. A position of an administrative assistant was created in late 1970's to relieve increased administrative workloads of the department chair. A position of Systems Support Specialist was created in mid 1990's to maintain a building wide PC network, network server, PC's, softwares and department web site.


The number of students increased steadily. In mid 1980's, the Food Science Programs had 100 undergraduate students and 200 graduate students. The Graduate Food Science Student Association was established in 1962. In the same year, the association had the first spring picnic at College Log Cabin and the first Holiday Party, both attended by students, faculties, and staffs. The first annual newsletter of the association, Ballnik I, was issued in 1962.Students were active in inter-department sport competition. For example, a Food Science student team was the champion of Rutgers Intramural Flag Football League for three times between late 1960's to early 1970's.Through peer evaluation by Food Science professionals, the Association received the Best Student Chapter of the Year Award twice from Institute of Food Technologists (mid 1990's and early 2000's).


An Evening Food Science Graduate Program began in early 1970's for the benefits of fulltime employees in food and related industries. For this, all graduate courses were offered in late afternoon or early evening in the campus. An off-site graduate course-teaching program started in early 1980's by offering key graduate courses at selected off campus locations. Two "smart" classrooms were set up in Food Science Building to assist innovative, multimedia teaching in late 1990's.


In late 1950's, the dairy-processing component of Rutgers Animal Science Department became an integral part of Food Science Department. The old Food Science Building became too small to house steadily increased personnel by late 1960's. Therefore, the department moved into a new building in 1972 through major effort of a department chair at that time.Food Science Alumni Association was established in 1978 at a meeting held on Food Science Alumni Day to assist close interactions among all graduates and their close cooperation with the department.A computer network was installed throughout the building in early 1980's to meet ever-increasing needs of fast communication and of fast scientific and technical information search. A department web pages were set up in early 1990's.The continued excellence of faculties, staffs and students resulted in increased national and international reputation. In mid 1990's, the department was ranked as one of the best Food Science Departments in the USA and one of the bests in the university according to outside peer evaluation. The department began a close cooperative arrangement with the Center of Advance Food Technology (CAFT) in 1985. A newly built CAFT Wing became an integral attachment to the Food Science Building in 1990.The Fiftieth Anniversary of the department was celebrated in 1996.