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Dietetics Authority Got her Start at Washington State

Posted by cahnrs.webteam | May 10, 2010

Grace Severance Shugart served on the faculty at Kansas State University for 24 years, authored texts on institutional food management still in demand today, served as president of the American Dietetic Association in the late1960’s and received that association’s highest honor.

Relatives remember this woman of accomplishment who passed away in1994 as someone who was fun to be around and her willingness to pitch in at family events when she returned to Washington to visit family.

“She was just a person you felt real comfortable being around,” recalls her nephew Harold Brunstad.” “No way did you feel that she knew more or was disapproving,” said Sheila Brunstad. “She was fun to be around.”

Grace was born on Feb. 16, 1910, in Palouse, Wash. She was one of four children born to George and Ethel Severance. Her father was a member of the faculty of Washington State College for 28 years and served in several administrative posts, including head of the Department of Agriculture and later vice dean of the College of Agriculture.

After graduating from Pullman High, Grace enrolled at the State College of Washington where she earned a B.S. in institutional management in 1931. She interned at the University of Minnesota Hospitals from 1931-1932 before taking a position as dietitian at the Northern Pacific Railway company hospital in Glendive, Mont.

She moved to Ames, Iowa, in 1935 to take a position as food director of the cooperative dormitories at Iowa State and work on master’s degree, which she received in 1938. She owned a restaurant in Ames from 1940 to 1942 and then became office manager in the office of the director of the agricultural experiment station at Iowa State. From 1945 to1950 was an instructor in institution management at Iowa State.

In 1951 Grace accepted a position as food service director of residence halls at Kansas State and assistant professor of institutional management. In 1957, she was promoted to head of the Department of Institutional Management and Dietetics.

At Kansas State, she served on the Faculty Senate, the Graduate Council and as project director for various grants. She retired in 1975. The Grace M. Shugart Lectureship was established in her name at Kansas State the same year. The lectureship brings leaders in the field of dietetics, hospitality management and foodservice to Manhattan.

Grace co-authored two texts that enjoyed popularity long after she retired: “Food for Fifty” and “Food Service in Institutions.”

She was active in her profession, serving as president of the Kansas Dietetic Association and as official delegate to the American Dietetic Association House of Delegates from Kansas. She served as president of the American Dietetic Association from 1968-69. In1980, she was given the Marjorie Hulsizer Cooper Award, the association’s highest honor, for her service to the dietetics profession.

Grace was married to Harold W. Shugart in Ames in 1939. He died in 1991. At the time of her death in 1994, Grace had two stepsons, Harold and Clyde Shugart, and a stepdaughter, Dorothy Lindsey, nine step-grandchildren and 12 step-great grandchildren.

Grace received Washington State University’s Alumni Achievement Award in 1982 for outstanding professional contributions as a widely recognized authority in dietetics.

The Grace Severance Shugart and George Severance Dietetics Endowment was established at WSU in 1993 to fund scholarships for students studying dietetics.