CSUN’s Marilyn Magaram Center Celebrates 25 Years of Health and Nutrition Education

The Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics at California State University, Northridge will celebrate 25 years of educating people on the value of eating healthy and living well with an anniversary event on Thursday, Sept. 15, at the university.

The celebration will spotlight advances in nutrition and health with a jam-packed evening hosted by Daytime Emmy Award-winning actor Obba Babatunde. The festivities will include a tour of the center’s state-of-the-art facilities, including its new Wellness Garden; a nutrition musical by Helen Butleroff-Leahy, a former Rockette and registered dietitian; an appearance by Barbara Fairchild, a CSUN alumna and former editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit Magazine; and cooking demonstrations in the center’s Wellness Kitchen.

The evening is designed to show off the breadth and depth of the center’s efforts to provide CSUN students and members of the community hands-on opportunities to utilize and understand health and nutrition.

“For the past 25 years, the Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics has championed health and wellness at CSUN and for thousands in the community we serve,” CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison said. “The Marilyn Magaram Center uses education as a powerful tool to teach healthy lifelong eating habits, fighting against a rising tide of obesity that often begins in childhood.”

The celebration is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in Sequoia Hall, located near the center of the campus at 18111 Nordhoff St. in Northridge.

“Through the Marilyn Magaram Center, students have a variety of opportunities to learn about the benefits of better nutrition and how it affects health — and to share what they learn with their communities,” said Annette Besnilian, executive director of the Marilyn Magaram Center. “Together, students, faculty, staff and community partners engage in projects and research and conduct health-promotion activities in some of our region’s most underserved areas. The center also is a resource for food-oriented businesses, providing food product evaluations, sensory testing, nutritional evaluations, facilities for food demonstrations, knowledgeable and talented student interns, and training for the future workforce of the industry.”

The mission of the Marilyn Magaram Center is to enhance and promote health and well-being through research, education and services in food science, nutrition and dietetics, and to improve the quality of life and enhance the knowledge of students, professionals, families, and communities through education, nutrition promotion, scientific research and disease prevention. Programs and services offered include nutrition assessment, as well as the state-of-the-art Bod Pod, which uses air displacement to determine the amount of lean muscle tissue and the percent of body fat a person has.

The center is named for Marilyn Magaram, a physical therapist who developed a passion for nutrition. Determined to learn more, Magaram enrolled at CSUN in the early 1980s. Under the mentorship of professor Tung Shan “Tom” Chen, Magaram researched the role that B-vitamin folic acid played in overall health. In 1984, she received her master’s degree in nutrition, dietetics and food science. She became a registered dietitian and taught at CSUN and UCLA. Unfortunately, her life was too short. To honor her memory, Phil Magaram, his family and close friends established the Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics at CSUN. Through its community outreach, student activities and research, the center serves as a reminder of Magaram’s enthusiastic approach to life and health.

To learn more about the Magaram Center’s 25th anniversary celebration, visit www.csun.edu/magaram25.