Our Mission

nhs logo

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

Leverton Hall
Ruth Leverton Hall
Human Sciences Building
Gwendolyn A. Newkirk Human Sciences Building
Filley Hall
Filley Hall
Carolyn Pope Edwards Hall
Carolyn Pope Edwards Hall
The Scarlet Hotel

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 and Health and Human Performance.

By combining expertise in the areas of nutrition and health education, dietetics, community nutrition and health promotion, exercise physiology, athletic training, sports nutrition, biochemical and molecular nutrition, culinary sciences, and food service administration, NHS provides a comprehensive approach to the health and wellness of individuals as well as the communities they live in. 

Nutrition and Health Sciences can be located on: 

East Campus 

  • Ruth Leverton Hall 
  • Gwendolyn A. Newkirk Human Sciences Building
  • Filley Hall

City Campus

  • Carolyn Pope Edwards Hall

Innovation Campus 

  • Scarlet Hotel (Fall 2024)

Our History

Rosa Bouton
Rosa Bouton
Domestic Science class at Mechanic Arts Hall, 1909
Home Economics Building
Home Economics Building, 1905-1972
Dr. Ruth Leverton
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.
Mable Lee
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.
Scarlet Hotel
The Scarlet Hotel, Innovation Campus
Carolyn Pope Edwards Hall
Carolyn Pope Edwards Hall, City Campus


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.


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 Mechanic Arts Hall on city campus, Dr. Bouton served as the school's sole instructor with eleven newly enrolled students.

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."


The Board of Regents elected 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. By 1906, the program had been lengthened to four years, leading to a bachelor of arts degree.


Construction of the new Home Economics Building was completed with classes beginning in the summer.


Home Economics became a department in the College of Agriculture. New courses included clothing construction and design, dietetics, home decoration, household administration, and teacher training with practice teaching.


Construction of the Coliseum was completed with construction cost of $435,000. The facility originally housed several offices including the Men's Athletic Department and Men's Physical Education Department.


Ruth Leverton was tasked 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 Nutrition building began in November.


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.

This window, set over the main entrance and still in place today, features the Betty Lamp, a symbol representing the field of Home Economics:

Betty Lamp

With the nation in the midst of World War II, the Food and Nutrition 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).

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


The Men's Physical Education Building was constructed on the SW corner of 14th and W Streets.


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.


Construction was completed on the Women's Physical Education Building at 14th and Vine and the building was dedicated that November. It featured two gyms, a swimming pool, dance studio, and locker rooms. 


Major remodeling began 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.


The Women's Physical Education Building at 14th and Vine was renovated to add classrooms, computer labs, and office for instructors. In honor of UNL's physical education pioneer Mabel Lee, the building was also renamed in her honor on May 7, 1977.

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.


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


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


Mabel Lee Hall was demolished in the spring to make way for Carolyn Pope Edwards Hall, the new home to the College of Education and Human Sciences. Upon completion, The project was completed by fall of 2022 and featured new classrooms, meeting spaces, offices, labs, and a 400-seat auditorium.


Construction of Carolyn Pope Edwards Hall was completed over the summer and by early September, the Exercise Physiology Lab relocated to the new building from Neihardt Hall.


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

Our Curriculum

our curriculum


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.


The Division of Food and Nutrition was established.


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


Master's degree program approved.


Dietetics internship program initiated.


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


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".


Department renamed "Nutritional Science and Dietetics".


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


Community Nutrition and Health Promotion established as a graduate specialization.


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


The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Athletic Training Program received initial accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). (In 2006, accreditation was transferred to the newly formed Commission on the Accreditation of Athletic Training Education [CAATE]).


Nutrition and Exercise approved as an undergraduate program.


Hospitality, Restaurant, and Tourism Management established as an undergraduate program. 


Community Health and Wellness approved as an undergraduate program.


Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition established as a graduate specialization.


Hospitality Management established as a graduate specialization.


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

NHS Department Chairs

Mary Ann Johnson
Mary Ann Johnson
Linda Boekner
Linda Boeckner
Timothy Carr
Timothy Carr  
Marilynn Schnepf
Marilynn Schnepf

Our Research and Achievements

Fayrene Award
Fayrene Hamouz, 2016 National Restaurant Association Lifetime Achievement Award
Janos award
Janos Zempleni, 2019 Osborne and Mendel Award
Housh Award
Terry Housh, 2020 Boyd Epley Lifetime Achievement Award


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


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


Fayrene Hamouz recognized with Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nebraska Restaurant Association.


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


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