History - CSR

The Division of Consumer Science was founded in July 1976 from three former departments within the School of Consumer and Family Sciences: Clothing and Textiles, Home Management and Family Economics, and Housing, Equipment, and Environmental Design. On June 14, 2019, the Purdue University Board of Trustees approved the transformation of the Department of Consumer Sciences (CSR) into a division within the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) to better serve students and to enhance the quality and visibility of our programs in consumer science. You can read the announcement of the transformation here.


The next 10 years were spent developing new programs and making improvements to the facilities. In 1986, for the first time, all faculty and staff were located in the same building. Previously, the environmental design faculty and a few others were located in an auxiliary building on Russell Street.

Two undergraduate programs, consumer affairs and financial counseling and planning were added. The undergraduate program in clothing and textiles evolved into apparel technology (now called apparel design and technology) and a non-product specific program in retail management. The environmental design program merged with the interior design program in the Department of Creative Arts (now known as the Department of Visual and Performing Arts) resulting in a jointly sponsored interior design program. In July 1992, the interior design program was wholly transferred to the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. In fall 1994, two more undergraduate programs were added: sales and sales management and small business. The sales and sales management program was renamed selling and sales management in 1999 and continues to be one of the fastest growing programs at the University. In 1999, the consumer affairs program was incorporated into several of the other programs within the department. The small business program components were also incorporated into other programs within the department. In the fall of 2003, the family business minor was added to the curriculum.

Department Heads

Fern Rennebolm (July 1976 - June 1982)
Holly Schrank (July 1982 - December 1987)
Richard Widdows (January 1988 - June 1989)
Richard Feinberg (July 1989 - July 1997)
Heikki Rinne (August 1997 - July 1999)
Christine Ladisch (August 1999 - June 2001)
Richard Feinberg (July 2001 - July 2002, Interim)
Richard Widdows (August 2002 - January 2007)
Sugato Chakravarty (January 2007 - July 2014)
Thomas J. Templin (August 2014 - July 2015)
Richard Feinberg (August 2015 - July 2017, Interim)
Richard Ghiselli (August 2017 - Present)

The Division of Consumer Science Emeritus Faculty

The emeritus title is given to honor those who have made significant contributions to Purdue University through teaching, research, service, engagement, and scholarship.

Our Emeritus Faculty serves as evidence of the long history of distinguished teaching, research, and service that has defined what this department has stood for. The name of the Department may have changed over the years but the commitment of faculty and staff to excellence has never changed. Our group of Emeritus Faculty are among Purdue’s finest teachers, researchers, educators, and scholars. They are former recipients of teaching, research, and service awards. They have published in the top professional journals of their field and have had significant leadership influence in and on their fields. They have left their unique mark on hundreds (maybe thousands) of students who are living exemplary professional and personal lives. We are very proud of them.

Our Emeritus Faculty

Nancy Strickler - Consumer Sciences 

Susan Owens - Consumer Sciences

Thelma Snuggs - Consumer Sciences 

Lucette Comer - Consumer Sciences 

Sharon DeVaney - Consumer Sciences

Alan Dubinsky - Consumer Sciences 

Eva Goble - Dean Emeritus of Home Economics

Mary Alice Nebold - Consumer Sciences and Retailing

Holly Schrank - Consumer Sciences and Retailing

Richard Widdows - Consumer Sciences and Retailing

Flora Williams - Consumer Sciences and Retailing


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