At an event appropriately catered with foods fit for a Healthy Eating Plate, colleagues and members of the Department of Nutrition gathered to welcome Dr. Frank Hu into his new role as Chairman, and to honor Dr. Walter Willett’s esteemed chairmanship.
Since beginning his new role on the first of the year, Dr. Hu remarked on the smooth and productive transition thanks to the strong support of his predecessor and other faculty, staff, and students; and discussed his plans to continue and grow the “legacy of the department.” First arriving in the department 20 years ago as Dr. Willett’s postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Hu acknowledged the “very large shoes” to be filled (size 11 to be exact) as he steps into the position of Chairman.
Dr. Willett, who celebrated his distinguished 25-year chairmanship last May, described the fulfilling experience of working alongside so many individuals deeply committed to public health, and watching his students and trainees proceed to do great things. “What could be more rewarding than to see one of my former postdocs take over my job?,” said Willett, adding that he has “great hope for the future of the department” under the leadership of Dr. Hu.
The transition does not mean retirement for Willett, as he plans to devote more time to his students and to conducting research. As a nod to his commitment to nutrition translation, Hu gifted Willett a plaque featuring “The Three Pleasures,” a healthy dessert design-concept launched by Willett last year.
Dean Michelle Williams also addressed attendees, reflecting on Dr. Willett’s “leadership by example,” and the “highly supportive academic environment” he established in both the department and across the school during his quarter-century as Chair. In welcoming Dr. Hu, Dean Williams affirmed that the “future of the department is bright” and will “continue on a trajectory of success.”
- Q&A with New Department Chair, Dr. Frank Hu
- Walter Willett reflects on his 25 years as Department Chair
- Walter Willett honored for being creative, collaborative, kind
By Brett Otis
Photos: Brett Otis and Katrina Soriano