Hess appointed first Steenbock chair

Hess appointed first Steenbock chair

Mary Abbott Hess has been appointed as the first Evelyn Carol Van Donk Steenbock Chair in the department of food science and nutrition at UW-Stout. Funds for the endowment were the result of a bequest from the estate of Evelyn Carol Van Donk Steenbock. Hess' appointment will focus on nutrition education.

As recipient of the Steenbock Chair, Hess will work cooperatively with food and nutrition faculty to initiate a Nutrition Education Center at the university. The center will provide undergraduate, graduate and continuing professional education experiences and nutrition service to the community. The health promotion activities will include nutrition assessment, education and counseling provided by a multidisciplinary health care team using a holistic, client-centered approach. Hess' role will include developing and implementing programs that will enhance the national stature of the university for its excellence in nutrition education.

Hess is an expert at translating and communicating the science of nutrition into intelligible words and great food choices. A registered dietitian and fellow of the American Dietetic Association (ADA), Hess is president of Hess & Hunt Inc. -- Nutrition Communications. Her firm has specialized for the past 16 years in providing consulting services to agencies, associations, businesses and the food service industry. Her emphasis on promoting health and well-being through the enjoyment of satisfying food offers a refreshing change from rigid rules and dietary dogma. "We can love food without carrying it around with us forever," Hess said. "And we can meet our health needs in different ways. The food we eat should nourish our bodies and souls."

Hess was the 1990-91 president of the 66,000-member American Dietetic Association, the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. In 1993, she received a coveted ADA medallion for lifetime achievement. Early in 1995, she was chosen as a charter fellow of the American Dietetic Association. In October 1995, she was elected as a member of the Corporation of the Culinary Institute of America.

After completing an internship and master's degree in dietetics, Hess studied at LaVarenne Cooking School in Paris, and earned a Gold Medallion from the German Wine Academy. For her contributions to the profession and service to the public, she received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Simmons College in 1991. The National Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers awarded her an honorary doctorate in food service for her leadership in the food service industry.

Her books include the "Healthy Gourmet Cookbook," nominated for a 1995 James Beard Award; "The Art of Cooking for the Diabetic," the first major cookbook with an explanation of the 1995 food exchange system (more than half a million copies sold); and the "Review of Dietetics" manual, an important resource for thousands of students, dietitians and educators.

Hess' appointment began Feb. 1.

Outlook Spring '96