Library honors favorite patron
At one Cornell University library, many people have fond memories of the studious professor emeritus who always sat at the back table, surrounded by books and journals on food chemistry.
Friends and colleagues of Frank A. Lee remember his reputation for being a stereotypical bookworm, often lost in his reading. He would spend such long hours at that table in the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station library that the staff had to tell the night watchman to look after the food science professor so he wouldn’t lock him in.
The faculty, staff, and students at the experiment station, located in Geneva, N.Y., are making sure Lee will always be remembered for the time he spent there, as well as the $2.1 million gift he left the library after his death over a year ago. The station is renaming the library the Frank A. Lee Library.
Although Lee passed away in September of 1999 at the age of 98, it took more than a year for the paperwork for the gift and renaming to go through, Library Director Marty Schlabach said.
“It was unclear how large the gift was going to be, so we haven’t been able to go public with it until this fall because of various uncertainties,” he said.
When the experiment station found out about the donation, its largest ever, many people were surprised, Schlabach said.
“I was astounded,” he said. “I was also delighted because the funds are targeted for the library collection. Journal prices have gone up dramatically and our budgets haven’t gone up as high. It was obviously something he recognized and was somewhat frustrated by.”
The funds will help the library acquire back issues of scientific journals missing from the Geneva collections, scientific journal subscriptions, and “modern scientific books.” It will also allow the library to buy access to a number of journals available electronically.
“The access to electronic versions of journals puts us in a position to extend the value well beyond what the professor probably imagined would be possible,” Schlabach said.
Lee worked at the station from 1936 until his retirement in 1967. After retiring, he still spent a lot of time at the station’s library working on materials to update his textbook, Basic Food Chemistry. While at the University, Lee conducted research on blanching and freezing fruits and vegetables when the industry was just getting started. He published more than 65 peer-reviewed scientific articles, as well as numerous review articles and bulletins.
Lee was active in the Institute of Food Technologists, particularly in the Western New York Section, where he served as chairman, councilor, treasurer, and secretary over the years. He was also on the institute’s editorial boards for the Journal of Food Science and Food Technology.
After receiving the surprisingly generous gift from the professor, the station wanted to thank him by honoring his memory, Schlabach said.
“The desire to acknowledge the gift certainly had the greatest impact on our decision to rename the library,” he said. “Within the station and the station library, this was very, very significant for us.”
But in addition to gratitude, the station also felt putting Lee’s name on the library was fitting since he spent so much time there, Schlabach said.
“There really was a strong connection between Professor Lee and the library,” he said. “He felt this personal relationship with the library because of how much he used it and how much he relied on it when he was doing his research.”
Ohio State reappoints professor to Haas Chair
Ohio State University reappointed Professor Steven J. Schwartz to his second five-year term as the Carl E. Haas Endowed Chair in the Food Industries.
Schwartz, who teaches in the department of food science, conducted research identifying cancer-fighting substances in tomatoes, berries, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower during his first term as Haas Chair. The focus of the endowed chair is functional foods research.
Schwartz collaborates with researchers from other departments in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, as well as researchers at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the College of Medicine, and the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital. Their research focuses on which components are behind the cancer-preventing effects of certain foods, how the body absorbs these substances, and the amount that must be consumed to inhibit disease.
University of Illinois food science professor retires
University of Illinois Professor Barbara P. Klein retired after 26 years at the Urbana-Champaign campus.
Klein was a teacher, researcher, student advisor, and mentor in the food science and human nutrition department. During her career, she taught 15 different courses and created a sensory evaluation course that she later expanded into a program. Her research focuses on phytochemical compounds found in cruciferous vegetables and soybeans. In recent years, she developed heart-healthy recipes for breads, muffins, cookies, brownies, and other baked goods that can be made at home with soy protein. She also developed a prototype of soy yogurt.
Klein received recognition and a number of awards for her research and teaching skills. She was also active in numerous departmental, college, and university committees, as well as professional organizations, including the Institute of Food Technologists. At IFT, she served as an elected member of the Executive Committee and as an associate scientific editor of the Journal of Food Science.
Although she’s retiring, Klein plans to continue her research efforts.