Leverton Hall

Neihardt Residential Center


Rosa Bouton

Domestic Science class at Mechanic Arts Hall, 1904

Home Economics Building, 1905-1972

Leverton Hall was named after Dr. Ruth Leverton who served as professor of human nutrition at the University of Nebraska from 1937 to 1954 and later, as assistant director of the Human Nutrition Research Division of the USDA in Washington, D.C.

Mabel Lee was a pioneer of physical education, particularly for women, in the early part of the twentieth century who spent the bulk of her professional career at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She served as the director of physical education for women as well as a professor from 1924 to 1952.

Janos Zempleni, 2019 Osborne and Mendel Award

Terry Housh, 2020 Boyd Epley Lifetime Achievement Award

The Scarlet Hotel 

Our Mission

The mission of the Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences is to discover and apply scientific information related to food, nutrition, physical activity, and health behavior to optimize public well-being. 

Our Facilities and Resources

To better serve students in the pursuit of their career goals, the Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences was formed by merging two departments with long and distinguished histories at the University of Nebraska: Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics & Health and Human Performance.

Located within five buildings on two University of Nebraska-Lincoln campuses (Leverton Hall, the Home Economics Building, and Filley Hall on East Campus as well as Neihardt Residential Center and the Coliseum on City Campus), the Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences provides a comprehensive approach to the health and wellness of individuals and communities. We do this by combining expertise in the areas of nutrition and health education, dietetics, exercise physiology, sports nutrition, biochemical and molecular nutrition, culinary sciences, and food service administration.

Our History

1891  The Department of Health and Human Performance was established when the Board of Regents voted to require physical training for female students as a partial equivalent to the military drill required of male students. Professional preparation of teachers of physical education began later in the 1890s.

1898  The University established the "School of Domestic Science" with Chemistry Professor Rosa Bouton named as its director. Domestic Chemistry courses covered subjects such as food analysis, sanitation, and contaminants in food. Housed in the Mechanic Arts building on city campus, Dr. Bouton served as the school's sole instructor with eleven students newly enrolled.

The two-year program was described by the University bulletin this way: "To train the mind and develop character in the kitchen as well as in the laboratory. Special attention is given to the principles of cooking, economical methods of cooking, as well as methods to render food nutritious, palatable, and attractive."

1905  The Board of Regents elect to construct a new building on the Farm Campus to house laboratories and classrooms needed for the newly named Department of Home Economics.  Called "The Women's Building" during planning and construction, it provided dormitory rooms for 40 women and included laboratories and classrooms for Home Economics instruction. 

1908  Construction of the new Home Economics building is completed with classes beginning in the summer.

1941  Ruth Leverton was charged with initiating human nutrition research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and given a small laboratory in the meat science building. At that time, not many researchers had both the competencies and the resources to conduct valid nutrition research using human subjects. Knowing the potential, Dr. Leverton lobbied the university to construct a building to specifically house nutrition laboratories and accommodate nutrition research. Funding was approved by the Board of Regents and construction of a new Food and Nutriton building began in November.   

1943  Construction of the new Food and Nutrition Building was completed.  Designed to house more than just food and nutrition laboratories, the building included a cafeteria, dining rooms, a kitchen, offices, classrooms, and research facilities.

With the nation in the midst of World War II, the building was initially used as dormitory and classrooms for Specialized Training, Assignment and Reclassification (STAR) members, a U.S. Government program which channeled new military recruits to appropriate education situations. The University of Nebraska was one of only three colleges in the United States designated to assess and assign recruits on to any of 220 higher education sites.

Over the course of the next two years, more than 13,000 men from the United States as well as other countries of the world lived here before being reassigned to study engineering, foreign languages, personnel psychology, dentistry, and medicine in the U.S. Army's Specialized Training Program (ASTP).

Army recruits in formation outside of the Food and Nutrition building, 1943

1957  Cafeteria remodeling and reorganization took place at the Food and Nutrition building in order to provide meals for students living in the new residence halls on East Campus.

1974-1976  Major remodeling was undertaken at the Food and Nutrition building which included specialized laboratories for teaching, research, and extension. Facilities were added for live-in subjects, dormitory space, and a kitchen/dining area.

1977  The Women's Physical Education Building at 14th and Vine is renamed Mabel Lee Hall in honor of Mabel Lee

The opening of the new East Campus Union provided new space within the Food and Nutrition building to offer students laboratory experiences in institution management and quantity food preparation.

1978  In honor of  Ruth Leverton, the Food and Nutrition building is renamed Ruth Leverton Hall.   

2010  Leverton Hall is renovated to include updated air handling systems, redesigned building space, and completion of the n ew Biomedical Research Core (BORC) lab.

2020  Mabel Lee Hall demolished to make way for construction of a new facility which will be home to the College of Education and Human Sciences. The project is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2022 and will feature new classrooms, meeting spaces, offices, labs, and a 400-seat auditorium. 

2022  Exercise physiology lab to relocate from Neihardt Hall to the newly constructed Mabel Lee Hall. 

Hospitality, Restaurant, Tourism Management (HRTM) to relocate to the Scarlet Hotel on Innovation Campus which will include new academic spaces, office suites, as well as a commercial teaching kitchen.

Our Curriculum

1919  The curriculum was changed to place more emphasis on professional training such as dietetics, institutional management, and teaching. Also included for the first time were courses intended primarily for graduate students.

1921  The Division of Food and Nutrition was established.

1962  The Department of Food and Nutrition received approval from the American Dietetic Association for a dietetics program.

1967  Master's degree program approved.

1969  Dietetics internship program initiated.

1975  After years of pursing their own independent existences, the men's and women's physical education departments merge to form a single "Department of Physical Education and Recreation".

1977  The Nebraska Center for Health Education, previously affiliated with the University Health Center, was added to the department to form a new "School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation".

1991  Department renamed "Nutritional Science and Dietetics".

1993  The "School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation" renamed "Department of Health and Human Performance".

1997 Community Nutrition and Health Promotion started as a graduate specialization.

2003  The "Department of Nutritional Science and Dietetics" and "Department of Health and Human Performance" are merged and renamed "Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences".

2005  Nutrition and Exercise approved as an undergraduate program.

2017  Community Health and Wellness approved as an undergraduate program.

2019  Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition established as a graduate specialization.

2020  Hospitality Management established as a graduate specialization.

2021  Professional Studies in Dietetics (PSD) established as a graduate specialization.  

Our Leadership, Research, and Achievements

1991  Marilynn Schnepf named Department Chair.

2009  National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) designates the Terry J. Housh  Young Investigator Award in his honor. 

2011  Timothy Carr named Department Chair.

2014  Establishment of the Nebraska Center for Prevention of Obesity Diseases (NPOD) through Dietary Molecules.

2017  Linda Boeckner named Interim Department Chair.

2018  Mary Ann Johnson named Department Chair.

2019  American Society for Nutrition (ASN) awards Janos Zempleni the Osborne and Mendel Award for seminal discoveries in extracellular vesicles.

2020 National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) grants the Boyd Epley Award for Lifetime Achievement to Terry Housh.