Ann Hertzler, professor emerita of human nutrition, foods, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, died Feb. 6. She was 78.

Hertzler, of Wilmington, N.C., also served as an Virginia Cooperative Extension specialist during her two decade career at Virginia Tech, which was distinguished by numerous awards, including being a Fulbright Scholar from 1989 to 1990.

“Ann was involved in all three missions of the university,” said former colleague William Barbeau, a retired associate professor from the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, referring to teaching, research, and outreach. “Her main appointment was in Extension, but she did quite a lot of teaching, both undergraduate and graduate courses. Ann was a noted researcher in the area of community nutrition.”

Hertzler’s work focused on nutrition issues facing families and children, and she maintained her passion for that subject even after retiring in 2001. She continued to publish research, and was a generous donor to Virginia Tech University Libraries, which benefits from the Ann Hertzler Endowment for Children’s Cookbooks and Nutrition.

“Dr. Hertzer’s enthusiasm for promoting knowledge in this area was remarkable, as was her generosity in doing so,” said Dean of University Libraries Tyler Walters. “Her generosity is a major reason our Special Collections has such a comprehensive collection of works in the area of children’s cooking and nutrition.”

Hertzler authored, co-authored, or was involved in more than 80 peer reviewed journal articles or juried exhibits. She also wrote multiple book chapters and nutrition education publications, and was either advisor or a committee member for dozens of master’s degree and Ph.D. students.

Christina McIntyre, associate director of University Honors, was a student of Hertzler’s who later worked with her.

“She was instrumental in helping me to realize that my job at the university is not just to do what is in my job description, but to make connections across the university community, to actively engage others in our efforts, and to help others with their efforts,” McIntyre said. “She gave me a real sense of the university as [being] a living organism.”

A native of Pennsylvania, Hertzler earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics education from Penn State in 1957; a master’s degree in nutrition from Drexel University in 1960; and a Ph.D. in nutrition, with a minor in sociology, from Cornell University in 1973.

She joined Virginia Tech’s faculty in 1980, having previously served as an associate professor and Extension specialist at the University of Missouri.

“She was a very outgoing person and very much enjoyed working with the people in Extension,” said Sherry Saville, a program technician in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, who joined that department a year after Hertzler. “She enjoyed traveling the state and doing workshops in different areas and with a variety of different people. She particularly liked working with children."

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.


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