UC Davis Food Science & Technology

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History

The Department of Food Science & Technology has evolved from origins at the Berkeley campus, in the Department of Viticulture and Enology, in 1918, and the Department of Dairy Industry, in 1908.

Dairy BuildingThe Department, then termed Division, of Viticulture and Enology was organized following legislation, in 1880, and included instruction in olive culture by 1887. The subsequent origin and divergence of Food Science & Technology has been recounted briefly in FS&T's entry, in The Centennial Record of the University of California, 1868-1968.

The Department of Dairy Industry was organized upon the move and expansion of pre-existing programs from Berkeley to the University Farm School at Davisville, now Davis, in 1908.

Eugene L. Jack was the last chair of the Department of the Dairy Industry, from 1946 until the department was discontinued and consolidated with Food Science & Technology in 1959. In about 1966, he wrote History of the Department of Dairy Industry in the University of California, an unpublished history of the 51 years of Dairy Industry at Davis, and its antecedents at Berkeley. This is available in the Food Science Department Library.

Emil M. Mrak was an early student in the Department of Viticulture and Fruit Products at the Berkeley campus. He joined the faculty in 1936, the year he received his doctorate. In 1948 he became Chair of the Department of Food Technology, and oversaw its move to Davis in 1951. He helped the campus achieve academic and administrative autonomy from Berkeley. And, in 1959, he became Chancellor of the Davis campus. Mrak's presentation at a symposium held at Davis in 1984, honoring the 75th anniversary of the campus, provides a brief personal history of these events prior to his chancellorship. His career-spanning memoir, A Journey through Three Epochs, is an oral history.

Emil Mrak