Fergus M. Clydesdale Center for Foods for Health and Wellness

"[Dr. Clydesdale's] contributions to our knowledge of human nutrition and food science are legendary."
Suzanne S. Harris, Ph.D.,
International Life Sciences Institute

According to food science professor Fergus Clydesdale, eating right is a constant juggling act. (photo by Ben Barnhart)

Highlights of a Distinguished Career in Food Science (pdf)

A Spoonful of Sugar – An Intimate Look at Fergus Clydesdale

Dr. Fergus M. Clydesdale

Dr. Fergus M. Clydesdale

Dr. Fergus M. Clydesdale's career at the University of Massachusetts Amherst spans more than four decades. A prolific food science scholar, pioneering researcher, beloved teacher, and department visionary, it's fitting the Center for Foods for Health and Wellness at the University of Massachusetts Amherst bears his name.

Dr. Clydesdale's 20-year tenure as department head was one of the most successful in UMass history. He formed the first Departmental Food Industry Alumni Advisory Board which, through its leadership role, helped the department raise over $6 million in endowments from alumni and some of Massachusetts' and the nation's top companies in the food industry. This fund raising success is unprecedented for a department of its size. The endowments have been instrumental to the success of the department, providing support for research, teaching, student scholarships, and strategic initiatives such as the Fergus M. Clydesdale Center for Foods for Health and Wellness Center.

Dr. Clydesdale, in conjunction with the advisory board, also initiated the Strategic Research Alliance, a partnership with over 30 top multinational food companies. This alliance provides critical research funding that was used to establish one of the top scientifically equipped food science departments in the world. In turn, the Strategic Research Alliance provides industry with research innovations and access to some of the best young food scientists in the world.

A leading food industry researcher and consultant, Dr. Clydesdale has published some 375 scientific articles and has coauthored or edited twenty books. He was one of the ground-breaking scientists to integrate the fields of food science, nutrition and public policy. He helped establish scientifically based interpretations of national and international food regulations and policy to increase the confidence of the public in the food supply and establish guidelines which can easily be understood and evaluated. In addition, Dr. Clydesdale's research covered a wide spectrum of technological innovations to optimize physiological, functional, sensory and bioactive properties of food.

Over his extensive career, Dr. Clydesdale has provided expert advice for national nutrition policy initiatives, and has served on numerous national and international committees including those of the National Academy of Sciences, The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, The U.S. Senate, International Food Technologists' (IFT), International Life Sciences Institute—North America, Codex Alimentarius, the Keystone committee on National Policy on Diet and Health, the Keystone Roundtable on Food and Nutrition, and the Food Advisory Committee of the FDA where, among other duties, he served as Chair of the FDA Working Panel to evaluate Olestra. 

Dr. Clydesdale served 3 terms as chair of the Food Forum of the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences, served on the National Academies' Institute of Medicine Committee on the Use of Dietary Reference Intakes in Nutrition Labeling, was appointed by the Department of Health and Human Services to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, was a member of the National Academy of Sciences Food Safety Oversight Commission, serves on the IFT/SFO council  and as Chair of the IFT Expert Committee on Functional Foods (2004-05).

Also a beloved teacher, Dr. Clydesdale and colleague Dr. Jack Francis developed Food Science 101, "The Struggle for Food" in the 1970s. This class was one of the most popular courses of its time with over 1,300 students per semester, reaching an estimated 15,000 during its heyday. Dr. Clydesdale's lectures were so popular that students attended the class and took the midterms even though many were not enrolled.

In the words of one of his colleagues, "Where does one begin to…honor an amazing scientist, author, teacher, researcher, visionary, advisor, colleague, mentor and friend? Your pursuit of scientific excellence has always been at the core of whatever you do. You were one of the first researchers who recognized the value and importance of bridging the relationship among the fields of food science, chemistry and nutrition and you maintained that philosophy throughout your stellar career." – Kathy Weimer, Fellow/Director, General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition General Mills Co.