Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Purdue renames Food Science Building to honor Nelson

The Purdue University Board of Trustees approved renaming the Food Science Building in honor of retired professor and food science department chair Philip E. Nelson, who helped develop the program and became an international laureate for his work in improving the world's food supply. The building will be called the Philip E. Nelson Hall of Food Science.

Nelson (pictured), who retired in May at age 75, ended a 50-year career at Purdue most recently as the Scholle chair professor in food processing. He was the food science department's first chairman when it was created in 1983 and served in that position for 20 years.

Nelson built the food science program from a department of 30 undergraduate students, 10 graduate students and 10 faculty members into the country's largest, with a peak of 150 undergraduates, 50 graduate students and a faculty of 19.

Nelson also provided leadership to the food science profession and food industry as president of the Institute of Food Technologists in 2001-'02 and as committee member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration and National Academy of Sciences. He also received the World Food Prize in 2007 for his aseptic processing innovation. The system reduced postharvest waste and made seasonal fruits and vegetables available year-round and easier to transport worldwide.