Emerson, Gladys Anderson 1972

Her most notable achievement in science may have been to isolate Vitamin E, but nutrition expert Gladys Anderson Emerson is better known at her alma mater as a global ambassador for the liberal arts. Dr. Emerson earned two degrees at OCW in 1925 — one a bachelor of arts in history and English, and the other a bachelor of science in physics and chemistry. She then took a master of arts degree in history and economics at Stanford University. She went from there to the University of California for her doctorate. And, despite her credentials in other fields, she established herself as one of this country’s leading nutrition authorities. During a professional career which spanned some fifty years, Dr. Emerson lectured and did research at some of the most prominent facilities in the United States. She served on the faculty of the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, and she served as head of the Department of Animal Nutrition at Merck Institute. As Vice-Chairman of the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health, she was commended by then-President Richard Nixon. Dr. Emerson served, at various points in her long career, as consultant to NBC television, The United Nations, The Wall Street Journal, and The American Medical Association, among others. She was a principal speaker at dozens of national and international conferences during her lifetime, and her articles — more than 100 of them — appeared in leading research journals throughout the world. It is not surprising that Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts chose to make her an initial honoree when the school established its Alumni Hall of Fame in 1972. Following her death in 1984, the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma received a bequest from the estate of Dr. Emerson, which has been used for interdisciplinary learning opportunities and research.

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