Posted: June 12, 2009

Stuart Patton '43 Dairy Science

Stuart Patton

Stuart Patton

Dr. Patton's career is notable for the rare accomplishment of achieving renown in both technology and a basic biological science. He graduated from Penn State with a bachelor's degree in dairy science in 1943. He also holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. in dairy science from The Ohio State University

Dr. Patton joined the Penn State Department of Dairy Science faculty in 1949. By 1966, he had become one of the first faculty members named an Evan Pugh Professor--an award he has called "a wonderfully reassuring vote of confidence." In 1975, he joined the newly formed Department of Food Science, exercising a leadership role until retiring in 1980.

Following military service and graduate school, Dr. Patton returned to Penn State to emphasize graduate training and research on the microchemistry of food flavor, primarily that of milk and dairy products. No one has attained greater stature as a flavor chemist, and Penn State gained fame the world around as a center for this work. In the 1950s, Dr. Patton pioneered using gas chromatography machines and mass spectrometers to revolutionize flavor research. Dr. Patton has studied milk from a large number of mammalian species, and developed an interest in lipids as a factor in heart disease. His studies of milk and lactation in humans were recognized by the prestigious Macy-Gyorgy Award from the Society for Research on Human Milk and Lactation.

Upon retirement, he became an adjunct professor in both the Department of Neurosciences, School of Medicine, University of California-San Diego, and in the School of Family Studies and Consumer Sciences at San Diego State University. He continues collaborations with Penn State colleagues.

Dr. Patton has taken an active role at Penn State throughout his education and career. In 2000, the Donald V. Josephson and Stuart Patton Mentorship award--founded primarily through his efforts--was established for outstanding achievement of faculty and graduate students in the College of Agricultural Sciences. His contributions to science were recognized only last year with a symposium at University Park. He received the Department of Dairy and Animal Science's Dairy Distinguished Alumnus and the College of Agricultural Sciences' Outstanding Alumnus award.

With well over 200 technical and scientific publications, three patents, and two textbooks to his name, Dr. Patton has received numerous accolades including Borden Award in the Chemistry of Milk, American Chemical Society; Centennial Award for Distinguished Service, The Ohio State University; Bond Award, American Oil Chemists' Society; Award for Distinguished Service and Achievement in Agricultural and Food Chemistry, American Chemical Society; Senior U.S. Scientist Award, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, West Germany; Honored Participant, Gordon Conference on Biology of the Mammary Gland; double issue of journal Protoplasm dedication; and Fellow of the American Dairy Science Association.

Dr. Patton has been called the quintessential university professor--dedicated, reflective, knowledgeable, quick to give credit to others, and remaining at the forefront with refreshing thought in his areas of specialization. He has credited his success "to an intense interest in knowledge; great educational opportunity; exceptional mentoring, especially by D.V. Josephson, Ph.D, '43; and a very supportive mate."

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Kelly Praskovich
  • Associate Director of Alumni Relations

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