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Human Ecology professor Carole Bisogni dies at 65

Carole A. Bisogni

Carole A. Bisogni ’70, M.S. ’72, Ph.D. ’76, associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Human Ecology and professor of nutritional sciences, died Nov. 15 in Ithaca following a battle with cancer. She was 65.

Bisogni joined the Division of Nutritional Sciences faculty in 1975 after her undergraduate and graduate studies at Cornell in nutrition and food science. She oversaw a large research lab focused on food and eating behaviors and taught a popular course, “Social Science Perspectives on Food and Nutrition.” As associate dean since 2007, she was responsible for guiding Human Ecology’s academic programs and directing student learning outcomes.

“Carole was a strong advocate for students, was committed to high academic standards, and believed that students should be at the center of the college’s work,” said Alan Mathios, the Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean of the College of Human Ecology. “She combined her passion for teaching and knowledge of her field into dynamic and enriching student learning experiences, not only for her own students and advisees, but for all Human Ecology students. Carole will be greatly missed by colleagues at Cornell, as a beloved member of the Ithaca community and as an alumna of the college.”

Bisogni came to Cornell as a first-generation college student “knowing nothing about research,” she once recalled. She was drawn to an academic career after working with noted biochemist and potato expert Nell Mondy, Ph.D. ’53, who ignited her interest in the chemical and physical properties of food. After completing graduate studies in food and nutrition, Bisogni joined the faculty and took responsibility for Cornell Cooperative Extension education programs related to product labeling, food safety and related consumer issues.

As a researcher, Bisogni focused on understanding food choice – the personal, social, cultural and situational influences on human eating behaviors. With co-authors, she developed the Food Choice Process Model to assess the complex factors that shape our everyday food choices. One notable study by Bisogni, for instance, found that low-income working parents often struggle to feed themselves and their children nutritious meals due to job stress, inflexible schedules, lack of time and other outside factors. In 2013, the Society of Nutrition and Behavior honored Bisogni and co-authors with its Best Article and Best Great Educational Material awards for their work on people’s perceptions of healthy eating.

As associate dean, Bisogni played a critical role in building a research immersion program for Human Ecology undergraduates, which awards stipends for up to 15 students each summer to work full-time in faculty labs.

Bisogni is survived by her husband, James J. Bisogni Jr., M.S. ’70, Ph.D. ’73, professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering, and sons Jared Bisogni, MPS ’06, and Adam Bisogni ’08, a Ph.D. student in molecular and integrative physiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Calling hours will be held Wednesday, Nov. 19, 5-7 p.m., at Bangs Funeral Home in Ithaca. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bisogni’s memory to the Cancer Resource Center of Ithaca. A campus memorial service is also planned.

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Melissa Osgood