Skip to Main Content
Chico State

Fond Farewell: Nutrition Professor Emerita Evelyn Mar

Stars shine above Trinity Hall.
Jason Halley / University Photographer

Professor Emerita Evelyn Mar, who taught dietetics and nutrition on campus for more than 20 years, died Friday, October 18. She was 88.

Born September 1, 1931, Mar earned her bachelor’s degree from University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s degree and PhD in nutrition from Iowa State University, where she worked as a professor prior to her hiring at Chico State in 1968. She also spent time as a dietician at St. Francis Hospital in San Francisco, Mercy Hospital in Sacramento, and as a food administrator at Dewitt State Hospital in Auburn.

At Chico State, Mar was tasked with establishing the University’s program in dietetics. Under her leadership, it flourished as an option within the major of home economics and eventually developed into the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences. She brought her expertise and passion to the program, and enjoyed sharing her particular interests in obesity and emotional eating.

Mar was highly respected by faculty in many departments, particularly chemistry and biology, where she also had many friends, said Professor Emerita Barbara Fischer.

“She was always willing to teach whatever class needed covering,” she said. “And she was exceptionally dedicated to the success of her students, spending many hours helping them find internships, writing letters of recommendation, and making contacts for them at teaching hospitals and graduate programs.”

Mar participated on University committees for many of her early years. She was chair of the Department of Home Economics from 1981–1983, and served on the Articulation Council of California, working to identify pathways for community college students to continue their studies within the California State University or University of California systems.

Her former students remember her as sweet, thoughtful, and kind, and with a wonderful smile. She had a lasting influence on many of their careers, teaching them about professionalism and building a love for learning as much as the discipline of nutrition itself.

“Dr. Mar brought such a positive and exciting spin on food and nutrition,” said Laura Fox (Dietetics, ’95; MS, Nutritional Science, ’00). “I remember looking forward to her class each week and became so much more confident in that area of study because of her knowledge, passion, and kindness.”

Julie Wetmore (Nutrition and Food Sciences, ’78; MA, Special Major, ’86) remembers when she told Mar her senior year that she would be volunteering with a new program in Oroville called Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), her professor drove her to tour the town, show where she was volunteering, and picnic at the dam. Wetmore found her calling with WIC and built a 30-year career there—all of which she credits to Mar.

“I feel that she helped me find my way, and expected more from me—which helped my entire career,” Wetmore said. “She was a kind and caring woman that helped me, and many, during her career at Chico State.”

A recognized nutrition expert, Mar’s writings appeared in professional magazines including the Journal of Nutrition and in federal proceedings of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. In 1969, she was invited to present at the International Conference for Nutritionists in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

She began transitioning into retirement in 1983 but remained in the classroom for 13 more years, as there was not yet a limit on continued teaching through the Faculty Early Retirement Program. In retirement, she loved to travel, gamble, and spend time with her family in Sacramento. She also lunched regularly with a group of retired WIC employees.

The University will lower the flag on Tuesday, December 3, in her memory. A small memorial gathering was held in her honor on Friday, November 15.