sealPurdue News

April 11, 2003

CFS school names 2003 distinguished alumni

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue University School of Consumer and Family Sciences will honor five of its graduates as distinguished alumni at 5:30 p.m. today (Friday, 4/11) at an awards dinner.

Christine Schmitz Ladisch, Karen Pearson Ross, Tracy Cook Sherva, Flora Rouch Williams and Sheri Wilson-Gray will receive distinguished alumni awards. Others being recognized include Casey Lee Uglow with the Outstanding Young Professional Award, Maxine F. Wilson with the Community Service Award, and Ron and Kay Belin with the Friends of Purdue Award.

Ladisch, of West Lafayette, is associate provost and professor of consumer sciences and retailing at Purdue. She earned her master's and doctorate degrees from Purdue in 1975 and 1978, respectively. In 2001 she was named associate provost. She also served as the associate dean for academic affairs in the School of Consumer and Family Sciences from 1993 to 1999 and as head of the Department of Consumer Sciences and Retailing from 1999 to 2001.

Ross, of Friendswood, Texas, is project leader at Space Food Systems United Space Alliance. She earned her bachelor's degree in consumer and family sciences education in 1971. She started her career teaching, then in 1988 she began working in the space program on space shuttle and international space station food systems. As project leader, her responsibilities include conducting taste panels to select menu items and preparing meals for shuttle and space station crews.

Sherva, of Arlington Heights, Ill., is group manager of food communications and consumer relationship marketing at Kraft Kitchens. Sherva graduated from Purdue in 1979 with a degree in foods and nutrition. She also leads Kraft cookbooks, magazines, Web sites, cooking schools and consumer promotions, and is involved in Kraft Kitchens' university relations program.

Williams, of Lafayette, is professor emerita of consumer sciences and retailing at Purdue and is recognized internationally as an expert in family economics and financial counseling and planning. She earned her master's degree in 1964 and her doctorate in 1969. During her 32 years at Purdue, she developed financial counseling as a profession and under her leadership the department created an undergraduate degree program in financial counseling and planning. She also established a financial advising clinic where students gain experience while providing services to clients in the community.

Wilson-Gray, of Stamford, Conn., is executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Saks Fifth Avenue. She graduated from Purdue in 1972 with a degree in fashion and retailing and earned a master's degree in management from the Krannert School of Management in 1974. As a top executive for Saks Fifth Avenue, she manages 61 Saks stores, 52 Off 5th outlet locations, 24 direct mail catalogs and the Saks Web site. In 2000 Gray was ranked one of the 45 high-achieving women profiled in Susan L. Abram's "The New Success Rules for Women" (Prima Publishing, 2000).

Uglow, of Zionsville, Ind., graduated in 1994 with a degree in hotel and tourism management. In 2001 this chef opened her own gourmet eatery, The Pidge. Indianapolis Monthly magazine voted The Pidge one of Indy's Top 50 Restaurants in 2002. The Pidge features lunch and dinner entrees that Uglow changes according to season.

Wilson, of West Lafayette, retired from teaching in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management in 1983 and graduated with a master's degree in 1955. Known as the "Kitchen Lady," Wilson is often consulted by not-for-profit agencies when they need help designing a new kitchen. She also helped renovate a house for the YWCA to use as a shelter for abused women, helped with the design of the Community Health Clinic and designed the kitchens of Tippecanoe County Child Care.

Ron and Kay Belin, of Dallas, are not Purdue alumni, but both of their children attend Purdue — including a daughter who is in the hospitality and tourism management program. The Belins endowed a merit-based scholarship to provide $3,000 annually to an out-of-state hospitality and tourism management student. They also are involved in the Hotel and Tourism Management Society, helping with fund-raisers and hosting tailgates for hotel and tourism management students before home Purdue football games.

Writer: Amy Patterson-Neubert, (765) 494-9723,

Source: Amy Liter, director of alumni and donor relations, (765) 494-7890,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Full biographies and publication-quality photographs of this year's honorees are available at:

* To the Purdue News and Photos Page