Colorado State University Announces Gift Bequeathed by Former Dean

The College of Applied Human Sciences at Colorado State University has announced a $200,000 gift received from the estate of a former dean.

Elizabeth Dyar Gifford, former dean of the College of Home Economics, bequeathed the gift to the college before her death last year. In 1940, Gifford became a faculty member in food science and nutrition at Colorado State, which then was Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College. She served as associate dean of the School of Home Economics and then became the first dean of the College of Home Economics in 1950. She acted as dean until 1976 when she retired.

"Elizabeth Gifford was an extremely influential figure in Colorado State’s history," said Nancy Hartley, dean of the College of Applied Human Sciences. "Without her exemplary leadership as dean of home economics, the College of Applied Human Sciences would not have the fine related programs that still exist today, namely design, merchandising and consumer sciences; food science and human nutrition; human development and family studies; consumer and family studies; and occupational therapy. Her service to the university will continue through this gift, and her generosity will benefit many future students of the college."

The Gifford Building on campus was dedicated in 1976 and was named in honor of Gifford. The building enabled all the college’s departments to be consolidated under one roof. Shortly after, the College of Home Economics changed its name to the College of Human Resource Sciences, and, in 1986, it became part of the College of Applied Human Sciences.

During Gifford’s tenure as dean, the school of home economics became a college with five departments offering 21 areas of specialized study. Additionally, the number of students majoring in home economics quadrupled and the number of faculty increased from 16 to 77.

Gifford, a native of South Dakota, received her undergraduate degree from Carlton College in Minnesota and did her graduate work at Iowa State University and the University of Missouri, where she received a doctorate in food science and nutrition.

Gifford was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and other honorary scientific societies. She also was a well-known sportswoman who enjoyed golf, swimming, mountain climbing and fishing. She won numerous medals in Senior Olympics competitions.

Gifford died Nov. 10, 1997, in Mesa, Arizona.