In Kathy Knight’s nearly four decades of teaching in the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management (NHM), students always came first. She dedicated herself to every one of the more than 15,000 students she educated in her career.
To honor her commitment to students and celebrate her retirement in May, please make a gift to the Knight-Alias Scholarship Fund, which goes directly to help the students Knight has always valued so much. The fund, started by one of Knight’s former students, offers aid to NHM students and provides opportunities to conduct research and attend national and international conferences.
Kathy Knight believed so strongly in this cause that she began contributing to it from her own paycheck.
"It is so important for students to be able to connect with their colleagues from across the nation," Knight said. Now, we all can join in her effort!
Hired in 1985, Knight worked with her faculty and staff colleagues to transform what was then a small Department of Home Economics that served only undergraduate students into the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management that offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs.Knight's "Food Preparation: A Laboratory Manual" is a foundational text in nutrition education.
Her impact in the department has been so significant that her former students eventually became her colleagues. In fact, the NHM department chair, Melinda Valliant, was a student of Knight's between 1986 and '88.
"In every class, she cared about the students and their experiences in her class and presented material in a way that made you want to learn – she always interjected humor," Valliant said.
"Today, Dr. Knight is committed to the success of NHM and offers guidance and support to faculty of all levels, particularly young faculty. She offers to edit abstracts, papers and grant applications with no expectation of being included; gives constructive feedback in a manner that is not condescending or threatening; and genuinely makes being a part of NHM fun and welcoming."
Knight’s contributions to NHM go well beyond the classroom. From 2009 to 2013, with funding from the Delta Health Alliance and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Knight was director of “Eating Good … and Moving Like We Should,” a school-based nutrition intervention program in the Mississippi Delta and north Mississippi. The program provided nutrition education materials, started school gardens and procured physical education supplies for 27 schools in nine counties in the Mississippi Delta.
With this project, earlier food service research and their latest project with the Mississippi Center for Obesity Research, Knight and her colleagues have secured more than $1.6 million in external research funding.
In her long, distinguished career, Knight also served as interim chair of the NHM department, published a seminal book in nutrition education (“Food Preparation: A Laboratory Manual”) and won several awards.
But Knight’s colleagues said her impact in NHM at Ole Miss comes down to one thing: how much she cares for her colleagues and students.
“She is a ‘we’ versus ‘me’ member and her actions are those that demonstrate she is thinking of the department over her own personal benefit,” said Valliant, the NHM department chair. “I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with Kathy Knight and to call her a friend.
“Her shoes will never be filled and her dedication to UM won't be forgotten because of how many lives, including mine, that she has enriched.”
Please make a gift to the Knight-Alias Scholarship Fund to allow Kathy Knight’s positive influence to continue for years to come.
Kathy Knight's “Eating Good … and Moving Like We Should,” a school-based nutrition intervention program in the Mississippi Delta and north Mississippi, started school gardens and procured physical education supplies for 27 schools.