by Martha Jackson
In early 1906, 40 women became the University's first students in domestic science. They took just two courses, and classes met in the basement of the women's dormitory.
A century later, what is now the School of Human Environmental Sciences has nationally accredited programs, scores of graduates with skills from family therapy to dietetics, and a faculty that continues to distinguish itself.
The 100-year mark has arrived with a new standard-bearer for HES: Ann Vail is director of the School of Human Environmental Sciences and assistant director of family and consumer sciences extension.
Vail comes to the College of Agriculture from New Mexico State University, where she was department head and professor in two departments, Family and Consumer Sciences and Home Economics. She also has taught at Iowa State, the University of Idaho, and The Ohio State University. Vail earned her undergraduate degree from Colorado State and her master's degree and doctorate from The Ohio State University.
Vail understands that the move to the College of Agriculture is still an emotional transition for some HES alums.
"I want alumni to know that we are alive and well," Vail said about HES. "We are positioned to thrive. The jobs, the work we do, are very appealing. Many people want to work with families or in the fashion/apparel business. Many people want to work in the hospitality industry in restaurants, hotels, and tourism. Students can write their own tickets. And we can place every family and consumer sciences teacher and extension educator we prepare."
A Stronger College
Vail believes that the College of Agriculture is stronger as a result of the merger with HES. "Our priorities are in many ways the same. We've both been about helping build strong families, and the merger extends agriculture's reach to all consumers."
HES also will have more opportunities to collaborate and reach out through its common interests with agriculture, Vail said.
Still, she believes HES will retain its identity. "There are some things each of us (HES, agriculture) will uniquely move forward on," she said.
A Stronger Link with Extension
Extension and HES will have a stronger connection than in the past since Vail not only directs the School of HES, she is second-in-command in administering family and consumer sciences extension programs under the leadership of Larry Turner, associate dean for extension and director of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.
That connection can lead to some positives for HES as well as the College, Vail said.
"The overall mission of HES extension, research, and teaching is the same—improving the quality of life of individuals, families, and communities," she said.
"The delivery system is different. We prepare professionals through teaching, discover new knowledge through research, and reach out directly to families through extension."
Vail pointed to two particular strengths of HES. One of them is HES faculty and staff, who "chose to stay and maintain programs through the transition of HES into the College of Agriculture. For them, HES is more than a job; it's a way of life, a value system," she said.
Another strength, Vail said, is HES' tradition of diversity in its student body. "Diversity is about exploring different perspectives, races, gender, and socio-economic levels."
"Whenever you enrich diversity, you help students deal with diversity in the larger community," Vail said.
As HES looks ahead, Vail hopes for a strong alumni base as well.
"This school is in place because many people cared about the work we do. We need alumni to continue to be supportive and to get out and encourage others to support us—financially and in other ways."
"We need alumni to be involved, be on the team," she said.
Holly Hopper, '95, '97, earned her undergraduate degree in family studies in HES. Now, she is leading two groups that are mobilizing Kentucky law enforcement and social agency professionals to help children of methamphetamine users—the Kentucky Alliance for Drug Endangered Children and the Drug Endangered Child Training Network. Hopper, who earned her graduate degree at UK in rehabilitation counseling, works in UK 's Cooperative Extension program in Family and Consumer Sciences.
FAMILY THERAPY LAB
Laboratory experience in therapy as well as observation and evaluation are part of the curriculum in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program in the School of Human Environmental Sciences. Dr. Jason Whiting is a member of the faculty for this master's level program.
Abby Marlatt, who was director of the School of Home Economics from 1956 to 1963, has been awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree by UK.
The degree was conferred at commencement in May.
Marlatt was a faculty member in nutrition and food science. She earned a doctorate at the University of California-Berkeley and taught at both Kansas State and the Beirut College for Women in Lebanon before coming to UK .
She is the niece—and namesake—of Abby Lillian Marlatt, a nationally known educator and founder of home economics as an academic discipline in the early 20th century.
Marlatt reached out to both international and minority students in her role as director, helping to instill a tradition of diversity that is still one of the hallmarks of HES today. She retired from the UK faculty in 1985.
The granddaughter of an Abolitionist, she was a civil rights activist in Lexington in the early '60s, supporting students in their non-violent efforts to open employment to African Americans and desegregate public accommodations.
Marlatt helped form the Lexington chapter of the Congress on Racial Equality and the local Community Action Council.
In 1985, she was awarded the Sullivan Medallion, which recognizes faculty, staff, and students who exhibit a spirit of love and helpfulness toward others.
In 1999, the Kentucky House of Representatives recognized her as a "model of good citizenship" for her continuing work with youth programs. She also was honored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews (now the National Conference for Community and Justice).
Marlatt was inducted into the HES Hall of Fame in 2000.
Now 89, Marlatt has continued to be active in organizations that help the elderly and the poor.
A scholarship in Marlatt's name is set up to assist students in the graduate program in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science. It is awarded on the basis of financial need and the potential for professional achievement. Preference is to be given to minority students from the United States or international students planning to return to their home country.
1OO Years of HES
Domestic science instruction begins at University of Kentucky —40 students in food and elementary dietetics.
School of Domestic Science becomes department within College of Arts and Sciences; home nursing becomes part of curriculum.
Home economics moves to the College of Agriculture.
Home EconomicsClub established.
Elizabeth Fried and Mary Elizabeth Taylor become UK 's first home economics graduates. Mary E. Sweeny named head of Department of Home Economics. Helen B. Wolcott appointed first state extension agent to organize home economics extension through the counties.
First home demonstration agents hired.
Department becomes independent unit.
Department returns to College of Agriculture.
Department of Home Economics moves from Frazee Hall to Agricultural Hall (later the Mathews Building ) where it will remain until the early 1940s; it begins to operate a cafeteria in the Main (Administration) Building.
First practice house for home management set up; these houses will provide real-life setting for home economics students until 1979.
UK's Iota chapter of Phi Upsilon Omicron, national honor society for students in family and consumer sciences, established.
Home demonstration clubs established. Myrtle Weldon hired as state leader for home demonstration agents and will serve 31 years.
Statie Erikson, first woman to earn the Ph.D. at Berkeley, becomes head of the Department of Home Economics.
Nancy Schrugham '31 becomes first home economics student to receive Sullivan Medallion. Sixteen more HES students have received it since.
Nursery school opens at 149 Washington Avenue; it will remain there for 40 years. Mary Mumford hired to teach and supervise the school.
Home economics gets its own building.
Master's degree of home economics established.
College's name changed to College of Agriculture and Home Economics.
Master's degree in nutrition and food science established.
Department of Home Economics becomes School of Home Economics, Dr. Erikson named first director.
Dr. Erikson named UK Distinguished Professor and steps down to do research.
Abby L. Marlatt becomes director of the School of Home Economics. Viola Hansen selected to serve as chair of home economics extension program.
Foods laboratories remodeled; regional research on consumer responses to food marketing begun in cooperation with Department of Agricultural Economics.
Home economics building named Erikson Hall.
Food science research begins in cooperation with the Department of Horticulture.
Acting director post for the school filled in turn by Anne Clemmons, Milton Coughenour, and Leonard Packett.
Department of Nutrition and Food Science becomes first separate department in the School of Home Economics.
School of Home Economics becomes College of Home Economics; Betty Jean Brannan named first dean.
Doris Tichenor hired to serve as assistant director for home economics extension.
Four additional departments approved. Lemon Tree Restaurant opens, offering clinical experiences for students in dietetics and institution and restaurant management.
First male students earn undergraduate degrees in home economics.
Active alumni association formed.
Marjorie S. Stewart named dean.
Five departments merged into three.
Undergraduate enrollment reaches 750 majors; accreditation awarded by the American Home Economics Association.
O'Neal Weeks named acting director.
Suzanne Badenhop becomes assistant director for home economics extension.
Peggy Sisk Meszaros named dean; logo for College introduced.
Erikson Society and Dean's Ambassadors established.
College holds first leadership conference.
Alumni-in-residence program established; Cozatta (Cozy) Tucker Helm, '71,'73 first alum to take part.
First graduate student scholarship awarded; UK 's chapter of Phi Upsilon wins first place nationally for a project on homelessness.
Celebrating the Past; Building the Future: History of Home Economics at UK written by Marjorie Stewart '63 (M.S., allied health education) and Joyce Threlkeld '40 (B.S., home economics).
College of Home Economics becomes College of Human Environmental Sciences.
Darlene Forester becomes assistant director for home economics extension.
Ray Forgue named acting dean.
Retia Walker named dean.
Bonnie Tanner named assistant director for home economics extension.
Home economics extension becomes family and consumer sciences extension; first endowed professorship in HES established by Patricia J. Buster '34 and her husband, John Buster.
HES Hall of Fame established; first five members inducted.
School of Interior Design moves from College of Human Environmental Sciences to College of Design.
Scott Smith named acting dean for HES.
HES merges with College of Agriculture.
HES and Ag alumni associations merge to become the Ag & HES alumni Association; Early Childhood Education program moves to the College of Education; Early Childhood Development remains in HES.
Ann Vail named director of School of HES and assistant director for family and consumer sciences extension.
HES celebrates first 100 years.