AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees today voted to approve the establishment of an endowed professorship in the department of food science. The professorship will be known as the F. J. Francis Endowed Chair, in honor of Frederick "Jack" Francis, long-time food science professor and department head who is establishing the endowment with a gift of $1.5 million to the University.
Robert Helgesen, dean of the College of Food and Natural Resources, said the endowed chair "assures a very excellent future" for the department of food science. He praised Francis, saying his gift is "a very generous act from a man who has given of himself personally over the course of his entire career to the department and the University."
Department head Fergus Clydesdale agreed, noting Francis''s many outstanding contributions and the fact that his gift represents the strongest support of food science to date. The professorship, which will be a full-time tenured position in the department, is the first endowed chair in food science, says Clydesdale. "This is something that is extremely important to the department and its standing as a center of excellence at UMass," he says.
A specialist in the biochemistry and maintenance of quality in fresh and processed foods, Francis joined the University in 1954 and was named Nicholas Appert Professor in 1964. He served as department head from 1971-77. The author or co-author of nine books and more than 350 technical articles, Francis received funding for his research from sources such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, Ocean Spray Cranberries, and Campbell Soup Co.
Francis has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, among them the prestigious Nicholas Appert Medal of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). In addition, he has been presented with the IFT''s International Award and the Carl R. Fellers Award plus the Distinguished Scientist Award of both the New York and North East IFT. Francis has also received the Charles A. Black Award from the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, and the Distinguished Service Medal of the American Association of Food Service Equipment Manufacturers. Francis is past president of IFT and past chairman of the board of the American Council of Science and Health (ACSH), of which he remains a member.
While he retired from his academic duties in 1990, Francis remains active in the department and as a writer and commentator on issues in food science and the food industry, as well as in the professional societies, including the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology and IFT, in addition to ACSH. He is also editor-in-chief of the Wiley Encyclopedia of Food Science and Technology.