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Kathy Knight Fund for Nutrition & Hospitality Management Students

Raised toward our $10,000 Goal
30 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on May 05, at 03:18 PM CDT
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Honor Knight's Legacy by Supporting Nutrition and Hospitality Management Students


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.



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15,000 Students Reached

In her many years at the University of Mississippi, Kathy Knight has taught more than 15,000 students. Honor her commitment to all of them with a $15 gift.


36 Years of Service

Kathy Knight has given the University of Mississippi 36 years of her life, beginning in 1985 in the small Department of Home Economics. She helped transform that unit into the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management, which now offers undergraduate, master's and doctoral degrees.


Years Young

Kathy Knight grew up in Mississippi and earned a B.A. in zoology from Ole Miss, a master's degree in nutrition from Mississippi State, and a Ph.D. in nutrition from Auburn University. She spent most of the 63 years of her life at the University of Mississippi, just an hour away from where she grew up.


107 Years of Degrees

The Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management has been a part of the University of Mississippi for 107 years in various forms, starting with its inception as the Department of Domestic Arts.


NHM 311: Nutrition

Kathy Knight is well known for her foundational nutrition class, NHM 311. This class teaches students the fundamental principles of human nutrition and its application to the needs of families and individuals at all stages of their lives.


Leveling Up for NHM

When Kathy Knight began teaching nutrition courses as an assistant professor in 1985, she was doing so in a department of just 125 undergraduate students. In her 36 years at UM, Knight helped transform the program into one of the fastest-growing academic departments on campus, with undergraduate, master's and doctoral programs. Graduate students take 500-level classes that Knight helped develop.

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