Agribusiness professor Barry Zoumas passes away

Posted: August 18, 2011

Barry Zoumas, the College of Agricultural Sciences' first Alan R. Warehime Professor of Agribusiness, died Aug. 14 in Mt. Nittany Medical Center, State College, where he was a patient since Aug. 6.
Barry Zoumas

Barry Zoumas

"Barry Zoumas was a talented and esteemed colleague whose many contributions and genuine kindness added immeasurably to the department, college and far beyond," said Ann Tickamyer, head of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology. "His loss leaves a very large hole for all of us."


Zoumas had a background both as a scientist and a businessman. In 1997 he retired as senior vice president of science and technology from Hershey Foods Corporation, where he had been employed for 27 years. At Hershey he was responsible for all corporate technical activities including research and development, quality assurance, corporate engineering, environmental and regulatory affairs and agribusiness.


Internationally known for his expertise in the science and nutrition of chocolate, he accepted the position with the college after retirement. Also a professor of food science and nutrition, Zoumas was active in teaching, research and executive education. Prior to joining the faculty in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, he spent six months as a visiting scientist at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, Italy.


Active in many scientific and professional associations, Zoumas was a past chairman of the Chocolate Manufacturers Association of America's Technical Committee. He also was past chairman for the Grocery Manufacturers of America Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Committee and was president of the International Life Sciences Institute, North American Branch, in Washington, D.C.


At the time of his death, Zoumas was a member of the National Academy of Sciences Food and Nutrition Board, its Food Forum and chairman of its Refugee Feeding Subcommittee. He had been an advisor to the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


He was a member of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association, the American Chemical Society, The American Society of Nutritional Sciences and the Institute of Food Technology. In addition, he was a director and president of the International Life Sciences Institute, a director of the Penn State Research Foundation and a director of both Capital Blue Shield and Keystone Health Plan Central. In 2005, Zoumas was named a non-executive board member of Tate & Lyle.


During his career he received multiple honors in recognition of his contributions from both the food industry and academia. He received the Alumni Recognition Award in 1985 from Penn State, the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1987 from Kutztown University and the Alumni Fellow Award in 1989 from Penn State.


Husband of Rosemary (Henry) Zoumas, he was born in Reading, the son of the late James and Clementine (Foscone) Zoumas. He was a 1960 graduate of Reading High School and held a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Kutztown State College. He earned his master's and doctoral degrees in nutrition at Penn State. He was also a graduate of the Senior Management Program at Stanford University.


He was a member of Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church, State College.


In addition to his wife, he also is survived by a daughter, Christine Zoumas Morse, of San Diego, Calif.; two sons, Larry Zoumas of Stockholm, Sweden, and B. Lee Zoumas, of Boca Raton, Fla.; and six grandchildren.