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The Beginning of Phi Tau Sigma - Another perspective

Updated: Apr 23

Phi Tau Sigma was started as Bill Powrie describes; i.e., conceived by students sensing that Food Technology needed an organization to recognize “good” food tech people. The push came from students. There was a camaraderie among those mentioned by Bill Powrie that I feel led to the formation of some sort of “club” and that turned out to be Phi Tau Sigma.

Others, mostly those a year or two “behind” were not excluded but those about to face the final “oral exam” had more in common and were closer.

There was a Food Tech Club, but it was not adequate for what the founding Phi Tau Sigma members had in mind and it was centered on undergraduates.

I was invited or picked to join in the second year. I do not know what I did to earn a nomination or membership. I was given a full course on Food Preservation Principles to teach, taking it over when Dr. Don Westcott left; maybe that helped. I remember we had meeting with speakers but do not remember subjects or specifics. I do feel that belonging to Phi Tau Sigma brought a sense of belonging to UMASS to its members.

I still have a Gold colored tie clasp with PHI TAU SIGMA initials in an emblem attached to the pin by two short chains, ala Phi Beta Kappa. The back has my name, 1954, and Univ. Mass.

I lost interest over time. My self-assessment is that my work/jobs were technical, food related and varied, but not academically oriented. I would pick academic brains whenever it helped, but in a narrow and selfish way.

In my retirement years I find Phi Tau Sigma is again important to me because of sentimental reasons. And because with relative ease Phi Tau Sigma allows me to remain in contact with people in Food Science and Technology at a level that I can handle.

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