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Historical, 2011-2021:

Updated: Apr 23

(Contributed by Kathryn L. Kotula, Ph.D., Lifetime Member, Executive Director and Newsletter Editor)

Since 2011, Phi Tau Sigma has greatly progressed. We have grown from 203 Members in Good Standing at the end of 2011 to a 605 Members in Good Standing by the end of 2021 – an increase of nearly 300%. Activities have increased, scholarships have increased, and committees have increased to meet the expansions.

Leadership structure:

The Board of Directors has grown so we currently utilize an Executive Committee with 6 members (President, President Elect, Past President, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, and Executive Director, with a potential opening for an Assistant Executive Director), and 12 Directors. The Committee Chairs plus the Board of Directors equals the Leadership. Monthly Leadership conference calls are attended by the majority of the Leadership, which speaks to the great dedication of our volunteers who run Phi Tau Sigma.

The number and scope of committees have increased to meet and foresee the needs of our membership, now and into the future.

Interactions during the IFT meeting:

The Founders of Phi Tau Sigma, at the University of Massachusetts, determined that the easiest way to have the growing membership of Phi Tau Sigma meet, would be to hold our meetings at the same time and place as the IFT meetings since many Phi Tau Sigma members were also members of IFT. This was and is a very practical approach to fitting the Phi Tau Sigma events into peoples’ busy schedules. (With that said, Phi Tau Sigma is not part of IFT. We just have a cooperative relationship with them.)

In addition to our annual in-person Board of Directors meeting, and Annual Business meeting, Phi Tau Sigma hosts the Phi Tau Sigma Annual Recognition Event (also called the Phi Tau Sigma and IFT Division Competition Awards Ceremony) which includes recognizing Phi Tau Sigma scholarship and award honorees, and the winners of the IFT Student Poster Competition. Phi Tau Sigma also sponsors or co-sponsors sessions and symposia during the IFT meeting.

Ribbons for Phi Tau Sigma Members in Good Standing, and Lifetime Members are provided at the ribbon desk in the Registration area. Members are also proud to wear their Phi Tau Sigma lapel pins. The ribbons and pins promote networking between Phi Tau Sigma members who may not otherwise recognize each other, and precipitate conversation about Phi Tau Sigma to non-members who inquire about the ribbons and pins.

The Dr. Carl R. Fellers Award presentation is concurrent with the IFT Achievement Award presentations, as part of the IFT Awards Celebration. Phi Tau Sigma has always provided the honorarium, currently $3000, and has provided the plaque as well to the 2015 to present honorees, which will continue.

Other interactions:

After numerous years of informal cooperation, Phi Tau Sigma and the American Meat Science Association (AMSA) solidified their interactions with a formal agreement in 2020, and a joint scholarship, the Phi Tau Sigma – AMSA ‘Research with Impact’ Scholarship, in 2021.

Phi Tau Sigma also has cooperation with the Agricultural and Food Chemistry Division (AGFD) of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Cooperation with more scientific associations are under discussion. These relationships are mutually beneficial, and eagerly sought by the associations we are contacting.

Constitution and Bylaws:

The Constitution and Bylaws have been updated to bring them up to date with the actual activities of Phi Tau Sigma as we have grown, as well as current technological opportunities, such as our website, email, and social media. Usually, new concepts are tested, and if successful, they are officially implemented and incorporated into our documents.

Significantly, in 2016, changes were made to the Bylaws and Constitution to remove the term “Associate Member” which had been used since the founding of the Society to describe the student members. It was recognized that our Members who are students have all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities as our Members who have graduated (professionals). All Members, student or professional can nominate others for membership and scholarships/awards, can vote in the election, can be committee members or Chairs, and can hold elected office at the national/international level. Student Members still get a deduction on their dues.

In 2018, the Constitution was updated to modify the certain titles. The terms of “At-Large Councilor” and “Executive Secretary”, initiated in 1953, were updated to be consistent with terms used today. Additionally, it is important to the people holding these offices to be able to easily explain the significance of their elected position to supervisors, performance evaluators, and other interested parties today. The term “Director” replaced “At-Large Councilor” and “Alternate At-Large Councilor”. The system of two At-Large Councilors and two Alternate At-Large Councilors being elected each year for 3-year terms, was replaced with election of four Directors each year for 3-year terms. This resulted in a total of twelve (12) Directors, all with staggered terms of office. The term “Executive Director” replaced “Executive Secretary”. The term “Executive Committee” which was composed of the Officers (President, President Elect, Past President, Executive Secretary, and Treasurer) and the At-Large Councilors was renamed the “Board of Directors”. The term “Officers” was changed to “Executive Committee” to refer to the President, President Elect, Past President, Executive Director, and Treasurer.

As the number of committees has increased over the years, these changes have been reflected in the Constitution & Bylaws. Committees usually start as ad hoc committees, but are made permanent if they are successful, or are dissolved if a better system is found, or they have a temporary charge and they have accomplished their goal.

Additional changes to the Constitution and Bylaws will occur in the future as the Society grows.

Scholarships and Awards:

In 2010, Phi Tau Sigma again sponsored the Dr. Carl R. Fellers Award (first bestowed in 1984), and we had an endowment started for the Dr. Gideon “Guy” Livingston Scholarship, although the scholarship had not yet been given.

From 2011 to 2014, six scholarships/awards were developed and initiated (bestowed). In 2011, the Phi Tau Sigma Special Recognition Award was initiated, and the first award bestowed. The Phi Tau Sigma Student Achievement Scholarships (up to 3 per year, with a $1000 honorarium each) was established and first bestowed in 2012. Similarly, the Dr. Daryl B. Lund Student International Travel Scholarship ($2000 honorarium) was established 2012. In 2013, the Dr. Gideon “Guy” Livingston Scholarship ($1000 honorarium) was established and bestowed, as was the Phi Tau Sigma Founders’ Scholarship ($1000 honorarium). The Phi Tau Sigma Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award ($1000 honorarium) was developed and bestowed in 2014.

In 2021, the name of the student travel scholarship was expanded to include Mrs. Lund based on her great support of international experiences for students: Dr. Daryl B. and Mrs. Dawn L. Lund Student International Travel Scholarship.

In 2021, we added two additional scholarships. The Phi Tau Sigma – AMSA ‘Research with Impact’ Scholarship ($2000) was first bestowed in 2021. The Catherine Adams Hutt, Ph.D., R.D. and Peter Barton Hutt, LL.B., LL.M. Food Regulation Scholarship of Phi Tau Sigma ($1000) is scheduled to be bestowed for the first time in 2022.

As we proceed into 2022, we are investigating the potential for more scholarships and awards.

More detail, and nomination forms, on each scholarship and award is available on the Awards page.


Over these last 10 years, the number of Chapters has increased or been reactivated, although a few have become inactive also. The activity level, and particularly continuity over the years, is related to having one or more faculty and/or staff that are committed to maintaining and promoting the Chapter over the long term.

Phi Tau Sigma, on the national/international level, provides, and has been increasing, opportunities for students, but the day-to-day endeavors, such as meetings, seminars, field trips, and community service for students still fall to a large extent to the Chapters.

On the national/international level, besides the scholarships available to students, an award is available to the Outstanding Chapter of the Year, and mentorship opportunities and other opportunities have been added.

In 2018, the Chapter of Excellence and Chapter of Merit program was implemented to acknowledge and honor active Chapters based on their accomplishments.

Starting in 2020, Chapters were paired (or grouped) with one another to facilitate mutually beneficial interactions, coordinate activities and foster community.

Communication with the membership:

The Phi Tau Sigma Newsletter, started as a monthly publication (11 per year) in October 2010, has been the premier source of information about Phi Tau Sigma. Consisting of News, a Calendar, Feature articles about our Chapters and Members, a handy guide to where to find specific information on our website, and information on our Contributing Partners, Sponsors, and Donors. By the end of 2021, the Phi Tau Sigma Newsletter has reached 124 issues since its start in 2010.

Our initial website was started in 2011 by Dr. Ken Lee. By 2018 we had outgrown the website, and a new website was started by Dr. Kathiravan Krishnamurthy. Again, we have come to a point of outgrowing our website, so the newest website is set to be launched in 2022.

Social Media has grown greatly in the last 10 years, and our Society’s use of it is growing as well. We now have committee members dedicated to posting and updating information on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook.

Given the progress Phi Tau Sigma has achieved since its founding, the Founders surely would be pleased. Phi Tau Sigma has a bright future as THE Honor Society of Food Science and Technology.

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