We are deeply saddened to share the news that Professor Emerita
Evelyn Mar, who taught dietetics and nutrition on campus for more than 20
years, died Friday, October 18. She was 88.
Born September 1, 1931, Mar earned her bachelor’s degree from
University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s degree and PhD in
nutrition from Iowa State University, where she worked as a professor prior to
her hiring at Chico State in 1968. She also spent time as a dietician at St.
Francis Hospital in San Francisco, Mercy Hospital in Sacramento, and as a food
administrator at Dewitt State Hospital in Auburn.
At Chico State, Mar was tasked with establishing the University’s
program in dietetics. Under her leadership, it flourished as an option within
the major of home economics and eventually developed into the Department of
Nutrition and Food Sciences. She brought her expertise and passion to the
program, and enjoyed sharing her particular interests in obesity and emotional
was highly respected by faculty in many departments, particularly chemistry and
biology, where she also had many friends, said Professor Emerita Barbara
was always willing to teach whatever class needed covering,” she said. “And she
was exceptionally dedicated to the success of her students, spending many hours
helping them find internships, writing letters of recommendation, and making
contacts for them at teaching hospitals and graduate programs.”
participated on University committees for many of her early years. She
was chair of the Department of Home Economics from 1981–1983, and
served on the Articulation Council of California, working to identify pathways
for community college students to continue their studies within the California
State University or University of California systems.
former students remember her as sweet, thoughtful, and kind, and with a
wonderful smile. She had a lasting influence on many of their careers, teaching
them about professionalism and building a love for learning as much as the
discipline of nutrition itself.
Mar brought such a positive and exciting spin on food and nutrition,” said
Laura Fox (Dietetics, ’95; MS, Nutritional Science, ’00). “I remember looking
forward to her class each week and became so much more confident in that area
of study because of her knowledge, passion, and kindness.”
Wetmore (Nutrition and Food Sciences, ’78; MA, Special Major, ’86) remembers
when she told Mar her senior year that she would be volunteering with a new
program in Oroville called Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), her professor
drove her to tour the town, show where she was volunteering, and picnic at the
dam. Wetmore found her calling with WIC and built a 30-year career there—all of
which she credits to Mar.
feel that she helped me find my way, and expected more from me—which helped my
entire career,” Wetmore said. “She was a kind and caring woman that helped me,
and many, during her career at Chico State.”
A recognized nutrition expert, Mar’s writings appeared in
professional magazines including the Journal
of Nutrition and in federal proceedings of the Department of Health,
Education, and Welfare. In 1969, she was invited to present at the
International Conference for Nutritionists in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
She began transitioning into retirement in 1983 but remained in
the classroom for 13 more years, as there was not yet a limit on continued
teaching through the Faculty Early Retirement Program. In retirement, she loved to travel,
gamble, and spend time with her family in Sacramento. She also lunched regularly
with a group of retired WIC employees.
The University will lower the flag on Tuesday, December 3, in her
memory. A small memorial gathering was held in her honor on Friday, November