sealPurdue News

November 12, 2002

Outstanding Food Science Award recipients named

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Department of Food Science at Purdue University has named 10 professionals as this year's Outstanding Food Science Award recipients.

"These honorees are recognized for excellence in industry, academic, government or other endeavors related to food science," said Philip Nelson, head of the department.

Recipients are nominated by faculty and staff and voted upon by the department's promotions committee. This year's Outstanding Food Science Award recipients are:

Fred Billerbeck, of Fremont, Mich., retired from Gerber Products as the director of administration and services of the research division. While at Gerber, Billerbeck managed four laboratories and was chairman of the corporate product development review committee. Now retired, he continues to be active in the food industry, serving as a project manager for Figgie International Inc., a technical consultant and participating in the Farmer-to-Farmer Program. Billerbeck graduated from Purdue with a doctorate in horticulture in 1959.

William Gorman, of Stuart, Fla., graduated from Purdue in 1949 with a bachelor's degree in animal sciences. He retired from Kraft Inc. as vice president and director after 37 years with the company. While at Kraft, Gorman developed many process patents and was instrumental in all plant construction projects from the mid-1950s into the 1980s.

David Hettinga, of Minneapolis, Minn., is employed at Land O' Lakes Inc. as chief technical officer and vice president of corporate research. Before joining Land O' Lakes, Hettinga worked for Kraft Foods Inc. and Clorox Co. Hettinga developed two patents for the manufacturing of cheese and cheese products. He has served on the board of Advanced Food Sciences Inc. and Alex Fries and has been active in many dairy organizations. In 1996 Hettinga received Purdue's Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award, and in 2002 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the U.S. National Committee of the International Dairy Federation. He earned a master's degree in food science from Purdue in 1965.

David Lineback, of Silver Springs, Md., is the director of the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the University of Maryland. Lineback earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Purdue in 1956 and his doctorate from Ohio State University. He was on the faculty at the University of Nebraska and at Kansas State University. Lineback was head of the Department of Food Science at Penn State University and North Carolina State University and served as dean of the College of Agriculture for the University of Idaho.

John Luck, of Savannah, Ga., received a bachelor's degree in 1949, a master's degree in 1951 and a doctorate in biology in 1954, all from Purdue. Luck worked for Armour, Glidden and General Mills Inc. At General Mills, he was the youngest research director in the food industry in the United States and won an award from the Institute of Food Technologists for creating a controlled growing environment while at General Mills.

John Nelson, of Indianola, Wash., is an adjunct professor in the Department of Food Science at Purdue. In 1993 Nelson received the Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award from Purdue, where he received his bachelor's degree in science in 1952 and master's degree in food science in 1953. Nelson worked at General Mills Inc., F.H. Peavey & Co., American Maize Products, Roman Meal and McCormick & Co. Inc. Nelson retired from McCormick, where he was vice president of science and technology. Nelson has held membership in many organizations, including the American Association of Cereal Chemists, Flavor and Extract Manufacturers' Organization and the League of International Food Education.

Paul Seib, of Manhattan, Kan., is a professor in the Department of Grain Science and Industry at Kansas State University, where he was presented the Distinguished Faculty Award in 2000 and 2002. Seib has published more than 190 journal articles, has authored 8 chapters and was co-editor of one book. He is chairman of the Carbohydrate Divisions for the American Association of Cereal Chemists, member of the American Chemical Society, member of the Institute of Food Technologists and chairman of the board for the USA Starch Round Table. Seib received his bachelor's degree at Purdue in chemical engineering in 1958 and a doctorate in biochemistry in 1965.

Robert Sellars, of Waukesha, Wis., retired from Chr. Hansen's Laboratory in 1993 as senior vice president of technology and quality assurance after 30 years of service. Sellars also worked as the director of quality control and product development for Maplehurst Jersey Farms in Indianapolis. Sellars' research has been the basis for developing and improving lactic acid-producing, bacteriocin-producing and flavor-developing starter cultures, and he has two patents. In 1992, Sellars received an honorary doctorate from Purdue. He earned his master's degree in bacteriology in 1955 and doctorate in dairy bacteriology from Purdue in 1957.

Vernon L. Singleton, of Davis, Calif., is a professor emeritus at the University of California Davis. Singleton received his doctorate in biochemistry from Purdue in 1951 before working for Lederle Laboratories. There his research included developing ripeness-quality-composition criteria and a test for the bruising of pineapples. At the University of California Davis he has worked with aging, storage and quality effects in wine. He has guided 30 graduate students and had 221 publications. The American Society for Enology and Viticulture recognized his work in the field and awarded him the Merit Award, the Honorary Research Lecturer and the James F. Guymon Award.

Dr. Elaine Wedral, of Sherman, Conn., currently serves as the president of the Nestle Research and Development Centers in the United States. Wedral received a bachelor's degree in food science from Purdue in 1966 and a doctorate in food chemistry from Cornell University. She began her career at Campbell Soup working in research and development before becoming vice president of development and research for Nestle's Western Hemisphere Research Laboratory. Wedral also helped in the construction of a state-of-the-art pet food product development lab. Wedral's awards include Woman of the Year in 1991 from Women in Food, Purdue's Distinguished Agricultural Alumni Award in 1992 and a Purdue honorary doctorate in 1996.

Writer: Michelle Betz, (765) 494-8402,

Source: Mike Reckowsky, (765) 494-6303,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

* To the Purdue News and Photos Page