Award established to benefit doctoral students studying nutritional sciences

The endowed fund honors the four-decade career of Penny Kris-Etherton

Penny Kris-Etheron. The Penny M. Kris-Etherton Doctoral Award was recently created in recognition of her four decades of contributions to research and teaching in the Department of Nutritional Sciences. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – After 42 years of ongoing research and teaching in Penn State’s Department of Nutritional Sciences, Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Evan Pugh University Professor of Nutritional Sciences and Distinguished Professor of Nutrition, continues to guide students at all levels toward rewarding careers in the field. In recognition of her professional achievements and the lasting impact of her mentorship, two former students have established the Penny M. Kris-Etherton Doctoral Award Fund.

The new award will benefit promising graduate students who are pursuing their doctoral degrees in nutritional sciences. Its purpose is to incentivize excellence in research and facilitate the department’s capacity to recruit and retain top-level doctoral candidates. As an endowed award, the fund will generate support in perpetuity.

Gregory Miller, a 1982 alumnus who studied nutrition, spearheaded the effort. His time in a graduate classroom with Kris-Etherton laid his foundational interest in dietary science, putting him onto a professional trajectory that led to his current role of chief science officer of the National Dairy Council. Miller’s gift was in turn matched by Kris-Etherton’s former student Mark McCamish, who earned his doctoral degree from the department in 1980 and most recently served as president and CEO of Forty Seven, Inc. Having kicked off the award, Miller and McCamish are now encouraging other alumni and friends who were inspired by Kris-Etherton to contribute to the fund.

“I’m honored and very grateful that this fund will provide important resources to equip and train the next generation of nutrition-related professionals,” said Kris-Etherton.

In addition to her many roles within the University, Kris-Etherton is affiliated with a number of prominent nationwide organizations that benefit from her expertise in cardiovascular nutrition. She is chair of the American Heart Association (AHA) Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health, and past chair of the AHA Nutrition Committee.  She is also a fellow of the AHA, the National Lipid Association (where she served as President) and the American Society for Nutrition.

“Across the many years I’ve known her, Dr. Kris-Etherton has proved herself to be superb clinical researcher and a dynamic mentor,” said A. Catharine Ross, Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair and head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences. “This new award is a wonderful tribute to Penny’s lifelong professional work.”

Contributions to the Penny M. Kris-Etherton Doctoral Award Fund will advance “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more, visit the “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence” website.


Last Updated November 11, 2020