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Strengthening communities through the power of food

Linda Vaughan

Dr. Linda A. Vaughan’s tenure at ASU produced several impressive numbers: 36 years of educational leadership, service, and research; 40 scientific peer-reviewed articles and one of the best-selling nutrition textbooks; over $2.2 million in grant funds; and 7 teaching awards. Through Campaign ASU 2020, Dr. Vaughan’s legacy includes a few more impactful statistics: over 75 donors; one endowed scholarship fund; and countless future scholarship recipients.

Campaign ASU 2020 is a comprehensive, university-wide fundraising campaign with the goal to increase support for the University’s students, leaders, and programs. A core component of the Campaign is to Ensure Student Access and Excellence by increasing scholarship support available to our students.

The Linda A. Vaughan Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in 2016 with the purpose of honoring Dr. Vaughan’s commitment to nutrition students. Over 75 individuals and organizations contributed to the fund – including nearly 100% of nutrition faculty and staff.

Throughout her career, Dr. Vaughan proved to be an incredible leader for the nutrition program as it expanded and relocated from Tempe, to Polytech, and finally to downtown Phoenix. While she worked tirelessly to advance her own research and support faculty in their pursuits, Dr. Vaughan was known also for her dedication to the students.

“I lived for those aha moments – the moment when a student’s face registered, ‘I get it now.’ That’s the big reward, and that’s what carries you through the years,” Dr. Vaughan told ASUNow’s Marshall Timmers in 2016. (See “Putting the humanity in nutrition.”)

Kelsi Wildermuth

So far, four nutrition students have received Linda A Vaughan scholarship awards. The first awardee, Kelsi Wildermuth, expressed her gratitude to the fund’s donors upon receiving the scholarship.

“I have been passionate about nutrition since I was a 14 years old,” Wildermuth said. “I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, Crohn's disease, and malnutrition in a matter of months. If it weren't for dietitians to help me along the way I would have suffered a great deal. I learned so much about the power of food and plan to help a great deal of people in the future with my nutrition degrees. On behalf of all students who receive scholarships, I would like to thank every person who has donated to help people reach their goals. I am so humbled by the amount of giving going on within the ASU community and encourage people to give what they can to help strengthen the community.”

Fundraising for the scholarship fund was led by several CHS faculty members determined to honor Dr. Vaughan’s service to ASU, including Kathy Dixon, clinical professor of nutrition. “The Linda Vaughan scholarship is special to me and many of my colleagues,” Dixon said. “Dr. Vaughan served as a faculty member, department chair and associate dean within the College of Health Solutions. She has been a role model for generations of students through her exceptional teaching skills, nutrition knowledge and community involvement.”

The Linda A. Vaughan Endowed Scholarship is an excellent testament to her leadership and commitment to education. Students for decades to come will receive critical financial support as they seek their own “aha” moments.

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