Skip to main

What is the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department's Story?

Our story began in 1894 as part of the home economics department on campus. The purpose of a home economics program was to help society develop processes for progress in the areas of cooking, laundry, sewing, housecleaning, household budgeting, care of the sick, and sanitation. By definition, home economics was “the art and science of home management.” The different study areas included cooking, child development, home management, sewing and textiles, budgeting, as well as health and hygiene. These courses were considered “domestic sciences.” The goal was to study the relationships between individuals, families, communities, and the environment in which we live. Below we have highlighted a few pieces of our history.

19th Century

1894 – The Colorado Agricultural College created a program to meet the needs of incoming female students called Domestic Economy and later changed to Home Economics

20th Century

1905 – The first Bachelor of Science in Home Economics was conferred upon graduates

1919 – CSU was the FIRST college in the nation to have a “Practice Cottage.” Students lived together for a number of weeks while taking on different responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning, decorating, hosting, child care, and budgeting.

1927 – CSU was the FIRST to build a high altitude laboratory to help homemakers across the nation with cooking and baking problems

1950 – Elizabeth Dyer Gifford becomes the Dean of School of Home Economics


Women's Cooking Class

1966 – Department of Home Economics became Consumer Sciences and Housing

1970 – Named the 8th largest home economics college in the U.S.

1971 – Dietetic Internship program approved

1975 – The new building for the College of Home Economics, which consisted of five departments, was named the Elizabeth Dyer Gifford Building after the dean and built on the old CSU Turkey Farm site

1982 – College of Home Economics changes to College of Human Resource Sciences

1986 – The Food Research and Development Center was established in the Gifford Building

1987 – PCMI – Peace Corps/Masters International program – established

1992 – Restaurant and Resort Management program (now Hospitality Management) began

1994 – Home Economics became widely known as Family and Consumer Sciences

Storing winter vegetables outside under straw 1920's

21st Century

2003 – The Aspen Grille was established

2008 – The Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center was established

2012 – The Fermentation Science and Technology program began

2013 – The college is renamed College of Health and Human Sciences

2015 – Advanced laboratory facilities were created on the 2nd floor of Gifford

2017 – Current brewing lab facility was completed on the 1st floor of Gifford

2020 – 126 years of providing an education for students interested in food science, health and wellness, dietetics, nutrition and fitness, fermentation, and hospitality management

Sign about food waste

Then and Now

Three women cooking 1920's
Foster and students in lab
High altitude baking display 1920's
Students in bread lab
Woman and rat 1920's
Nutrition students in lab
Instructor weighing children
Fuel for fun children

Our goal today is still to study the relationships between individuals, families, communities, and the environment in which we live. Our mission to help promote a healthy society is realized by providing our students with an education which allows them to help individuals and communities experience healthier living. Ways in which our department undertakes promoting a healthy society is by shedding light on food safety issues, providing nutrition counseling and dietetic research, creating sustainable food systems, and creating awareness around the benefits of fermented foods. Our students can become dietitians, managers, scientists, counselors, nurses, and doctors who find answers for disease prevention, obesity, childhood health disparities, functional food effects on human physiology, chronic disease and exercise, pregnancy issues, early childhood growth, and gut, liver, and cardiovascular health.