Hall of Fame, 2008 Inductees

Pamela J. Fraker

Pamela Fraker was named Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University in 1998. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2007 for her work in nutrition.

Her lab has been a pioneer in the area of nutritional-immunology. She is interested in the rapid and adverse effect malnutrition and wasting have on the immune system. They are examining apoptosis, programmed cell death, and the pivotal role it plays in development and regulation of the immune system, as well as a host of diseases including malnutrition, wasting, cancer, AIDS, Alzheimers, heart disease, stroke, neuronal damage, etc. These research interests extend to obesity and altered immune status using an obese, overfed mouse model; immune defense in morbidly obese, gastric bypass patients, impact of zinc deficiency and protein calorie deficiencies on immune defense, cellular immunology, role of glucocorticoid-induced apoptosis in regulation of lymphoiesis, utilization of flow cytometer for analysis of programmed cell death, development of flow cytometry methods, trace element biochemistry and nutrition and the induction of apoptosis by free zinc. She has many publications.

Dr. Fraker was born in Williamsport, IN and came to Purdue on a full scholarship, receiving a BS degree with honors from Purdue in 1966 and a Ph.D. from University of Illinois in 1971. Following a post-doc at University of Illinois Medical College, she joined the faculty at MSU in 1973. She received a National Research Award from NIH to fund a sabbatical at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in 1981/82. She was Graduate Program Director of the Department of Biochemistry at MSU from 1995-2000. She was Director of the Flow Cytometry Facility for MSU from 1988-2006.

In addition to examples listed above, the excellence of her research has been recognized at many levels. The College of Natural Sciences at MSU awarded her the Distinguished Faculty Award in 1995 and College of Natural Science alumni named her for a Distinguished Faculty Award in 1992. She was the Jean Andrews Lecturer at University of Texas; she received the Goldsmith Award from the American College of Nutrition and the Bio-Serv Research Award for young investigators from the American Institute of Nutrition (now the American Society of Nutrition).

She is very active at the national level, providing leadership for the annual Trace Element Conference since 1997. She currently serves on the NIH Nutritional Supplements Panel, the American Society for Nutrition Awards Committee and the National Academy of Sciences human rights committee. She has served in many capacities for NIH, FASEB, ASN and the USDA. She is also a member of the American Association of Immunologists.

As a Purdue graduate, the Department of Foods & Nutrition honors Dr. Fraker for her outstanding research and the national impact she is having in the arena of nutrition.

Ilo Wolff Matchett

Ilo Wolff Matchett is a benefactor and encouragement to the Department of Foods & Nutrition. Born in 1917 on a farm close to Tyner, Indiana, she received a BS from Purdue in Institutional Management in 1940. She served for 39 years as an administrator for the University of Chicago Medical Center Food Services.

Ilo has been a generous donor to the College of Consumer and Family Sciences for many years. The Department of Foods & Nutrition greatly benefitted from her unrestricted gift funds. Her vision and contributions made possible projects that had no other source of funding. When stuck for a funding source over the years, the business office would occasionally say, “perhaps we could use Matchett funds for that.” And the problem was solved!

Success is seldom self-made, but is assisted by helping hands along the way. Ilo’s generosity has been that sort of helping hand in this department. The successes of the professor whose start-up fund was supported by Matchett gifts are partially her successes. His productivity and the increased capacity and stature he brings to the Department of Nutrition Science must be shared with the person who enabled his hire. Another major use of these flexible funds was for purchase of equipment for the metabolic kitchen in Stone 231. It was a huge help to have those unrestricted funds available when funds ran short during the construction of that facility.

Ilo Matchett was approached in the fall of 2001 to support a specific project. Stone 229, the introductory food science laboratory, was approved by the University for renovation and, as an original lab in the building, it was greatly needed. As it happened, funds allotted for the project were inadequate to provide quality equipment and appointments in the laboratory. She extended her impact on this department by funding the balance of the Ilo Wolffe Matchett Food Science Laboratory, dedicated in fall 2003. She later endowed a fund to provide upkeep for this laboratory, “in order that the students might have the best environment for learning.”

The relationship that developed between Ilo Matchett and the Department of Foods & Nutrition is a natural one. In her years as a food service administrator at the University of Chicago Medical Center, she frequently participated as a subject in their clinical studies. She has been an inspiration for healthy lifestyle; choir, square dancing and walking each day are only a few of the good lifestyle choices she made in retirement. She has practiced what this department preaches. Consequently, this gift was a great match for Ilo’s own career and retirement. The functions of this laboratory parallel her career and interests, since the room is used to prepare students for careers in health and food supervision during the traditional school year and is used as a metabolic kitchen for human nutrition clinical research in the summer.

She was married to Hugh M. Matchett in 1956. They enjoyed traveling and exploring new territory together. She has been a P.E.O. member for more than 50 years. After retiring, Ilo became interested in genealogy. The family history she created is now in it final stages.

Mary Ellen Posthauer

Mary Ellen Posthauer, BS, Foods & Nutrition at Purdue, has made a significant contribution to the profession of dietetics. She is an expert in long-term care and decubitous sores, but has an equally strong message about career development and professional growth through leadership in relevant professional organizations.

She has been a consultant dietitian for 35 years currently consulting for Supreme Care West, Inc., serving as Vice-President of Clinical Services, and to Medical Nutrition USA, Inc, as a member of their Clinical Advisory Board. She conducts multiple workshops annually for registered dietitians, nursing home administrators, dietary managers and other health professionals. She also designs menu systems for retirement homes, hospitals and congregate meal sites. In the past, she served as a clinical dietitian in two hospitals in Evansville, IN. Mead Johnson and Company tapped her skills to develop and test soy-base, milk-free formula recipes for a recipe book distributed by the company. She worked with Head Start for five years as a research project director and from 1975 to 1991; she did food styling for commercial advertising companies in Evansville. She has been an educator, teaching nutrition classes at the University of Southern Indiana and nutrition classes for culinary professionals at Ivy Technical College. She was president and CEO of her own company, M.E.P. Healthcare Dietary Services, Inc.

She currently serves on the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (past-president in 2005) and is alumni advisor to the NPUAP Board of Directors. She is chair of the Support Surface Standards Initiative: Terms and Definitions Committee and is Chairman of the Nutrition Committee for NPUAS/European Pressure Ulcer Panel (EPUAP) pressure ulcer guidelines. She is co-chairman of the American Dietetic Association’s Unintended Weight Loss Work Group, developing medical nutrition therapy evidence-based guidelines for practice. She also serves as a member of the editorial advisory panel to Advances in Skin & Wound Care. She served as the American Dietetic Association Alliance Representative to JACHO-Long Term Care Professional Technical Advisory Committee from 1999-2005 and the ADA representative to NPUAP for 6 years.

Mary Ellen is the recipient of many awards from the American Dietetic Association, including the Medallion Award, the Ann Gallagher Award, the Award of Excellence: Consultation and Private Practice, Award of Excellence in Practice: Dietetics in Developmental and Psychiatric Disorders and five ADA Service Awards. She was accorded Honored Dietitian status by the Indiana Dietetic Association and chosen as the Area V Distinguished Member Award: Consultant Dietitians in Health Care Facilities.

She was selected as a Distinguished Alumni of Consumer and Family Sciences in 2002, having previously been chosen for a Citizenship Award by the Purdue Alumni Association and the Outstanding Service Award by CFS.

But it has not all been about her career. Mary Ellen Posthauer has actively contributed to her community also. She was a member of the first Leadership Evansville class and she has served as president of the Junior League of Evansville, the Evansville Philharmonic Guild and the St. Mary’s Medical Center Auxiliary. We are pleased to honor the leadership she has shown at every level of her life and career as a member of the Foods & Nutrition Hall of Fame.

Sister Mary Alan Stuart

Sister Mary Alan Stuart’s career is a portrait of expanded opportunities for service and responsibility with each new step of education. She is also a portrait of the educational vision her parents instilled in their seven children. Though technically retired, she continues to serve as a volunteer dietitian to the Appalachian Outreach Nutrition Services she created and as a member of the Advisory Board for the St. Joseph HealthCare Continuing Care Hospital in Lexington, KY.

After high school graduation, Sister Mary joined the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, MI, a teaching order of Catholic Sisters that ministers throughout the United States and overseas in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Armed with a certificate in elementary education, Sister taught in Catholic elementary schools in Illinois and Florida. In 1962, she began a 17 year career as a math, chemistry, physics and biology teacher, as assigned, in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, after completing coursework for both a BS and MS in science at Siena Heights University.

The winds of change in the late 1960's also shook religious orders in the United States. Not only did the traditional religious habit change, but sisters were encouraged to move into non-traditional outreaches which focused not only on education, but also on issues related to poverty, health and ecology. In 1979, she came to Purdue, completing her PhD in Human Nutrition in 1983. After completing a two-year post-doctoral experience at the U.S.D.A. Human Nutrition Research Center in Grand Forks, ND, Sister became the director of the Coordinated Undergraduate Program (CUP) in Dietetics at the University of Kentucky. But in 1992, moved by need in her state, Sister decided to take yet another step in her career.

Lack of medically-related support services in the Appalachian region of Kentucky drew her and she approached the local Catholic Hospital with a proposal for a nutrition outreach program. With a promise of five years of initial support from her religious order, she planned and implemented a nutrition outreach service to six rural counties. Monthly, as needed, she cycled through each clinic averaging over 1,000 miles/month. Patients received nutrition counseling for their diabetes, heart disease, hypertension or other nutrition problems. Health Fairs, school nutrition programs, talks to senior citizens and mentoring students filled up the other hours.

She has numerous publications, served on state committees and has won many community service awards, from Consumer and Family Sciences, Bluegrass District of the Kentucky Dietetic Association and the Kentucky Beef Council. She was name Outstanding Dietitian of the Year by both the Kentucky Dietetic Association and the Bluegrass District in the same year. She was chosen as a Distinguished Alumni of CFS in 2008. Sister Mary endowed the Arthur and Cecilia Stuart Memorial Scholarship in Dietetics in 2005, in honor of her parents and their emphasis on education. When children in her family dreamed of what they would do when they grew up, Mr. Stuart always said, "You might think of doing that after you finish college." The emphasis they placed on education was the greatest gift they could give their children. Sister Mary has proven them correct!

Deborah Woehler

Deborah L. Woehler, MS, RD, LD created and accomplished unique opportunities in her career as a dietitian. Innovation and entrepreneurship have been consistent hallmarks of her career, though she was worked in all three arms of the profession, food service management, clinical and community dietetics. She graduated with honors in Foods & Nutrition from Purdue in 1976. While doing a dietetic internship at the Houston VA Hospital, she did a Master of Science in Nutrition at Texas Woman’s University. Later, in 1992 she completed an Executive MBA at Rice University. In 2002 she completed the ADA (American Dietetic Association) Adult Weight Management Certification Program in Nashville, TN.

She started her career as a Health Care Marketing Specialist with SYSCO Food Service, moving to a sales position with National Health Laboratories. In 1980 she began a private nutrition practice. During this period, she planned and organized the first two-day Nutrition and Fitness Exposition in Houston. In 1985 she became co-owner of reSearch for Health, Inc.; serving in various capacities, finally as president, in 1991, and chief executive officer, in 1996. During this period innovation was not just at work, she stated the Bayou City Institutional Review Board and the Houston Osteoporosis Support Group. This was the first osteoporosis support group in the state of Texas. In 1993, she opened the first non-hospital-owned Bone Mineral Density Testing center for clinical trials and private patient care. She managed and oversaw the operations of this center. From 1997-2000 she was with Health Advance Institute as vice-president of client partnership development, then business development and finally business development and marketing.

In 2001, Deborah Woehler became the executive director and founding board member of the Cluthe and William B. Oliver Foundation, a non-profit foundation based in Houston, TX. The mission of the foundation is the prevention of childhood obesity through teaching healthy eating habits and physical activity in schools, community centers, museums and other venues. She is responsible for coordinating, managing and expediting the foundations activities and expenditures. She founded the Teen Advisory Board, YEAH (Youth Excited About Health) for the foundation in 2004. She is in demand as a speaker and radio guest. Over the years, she has been the preceptor for 5-6 Purdue students for the dietetic internship at the University of Houston.

Recent awards, grants and research include serving as principle investigator in 2005 for The Oliver Foundation Kids Team in Fort Bend Independent School District: a six year longitudinal study of BMI trends among elementary school children in a healthy school environment. The study continues in an evaluation phase. A W.K.Kellogg Foundation grant is for production of seventy-two 30-60 second healthy education vignettes. The foundation won the prestigious T. A.P.E. Crystal award for excellence in community partnerships with a large school district and endorsement from the Texas Governor’s Commission for Women as their website choice of Health and Wellness for the Prevention of Childhood Obesity. We congratulate Deborah Woehler on her professional vision for the Houston community and for the health of children nationally.

Department of Nutrition Science, 700 W. State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2059 (765) 494-8228, Fax: (765) 494-0674

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