CSUN’s Marilyn Magaram Center Celebrates 25 Years of Excellence

  • Emmy-Award winning actor Obba Babatundé hosted the celebration of the night. Photo by David. J. Hawkins.

  • Annette Besnilian, executive director of the MMC welcomed the MMC' audience to the 25th anniversaty celebration on Sept. 15 in Sequoia Hall. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • Attendees of the celebration try self-made Matador Marmalade from MMC food science interns. Photo by David J. Hawkins.

  • Visitors enjoyed food and drink samples at the MMC's 25th anniversary celebration on Sept. 15 in Sequoia Hall. Photo by David J. Hawkins.

  • Attendees visited the Wellness Garden and sampled the "Spicy Matador," a self-made seasoning mix made from the herbs of the garden. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • MMC's founding director Tun-Shan Chen tells the audience anecdotes about his time working with Marilyn Magaram. Photo by David J. Hawkins.

  • The event hosted food demonstrations and tastings. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • CSUN alumna Paulette Lambert offers cooking demonstrations, supported by CSUN students. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • Philanthropists Sally and Phil Magaram have founded the MMC in 1991 in honor of Marilyn Magaram. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • CSUN students perform an expressional act on eating disorders. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • Gault Elementary School students perform a "Veggie Rock" choreography. Photo by David J. Hawkins.

  • The music group One Singular Sensation performs a humorous act about the history of the MMC. Photo by David J. Hawkins.

  • CSUN's President Diane F. Harrison concludes the MMC's 25th anniversary celebration. Photo by David J. Hawkins.

California State University, Northridge’s Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics celebrated its 25th anniversary by adding a dash of Broadway to nutrition education on Sept. 15 at Sequoia Hall. The celebration was hosted by Emmy Award-winning actor Obba Babatundé.

Licensed Physical Therapist and Registered Dietitian Marilyn Magaram attended CSUN in the early 1980s and received her master’s degree in food science, nutrition and dietetics in home economics in 1984. The program was later renamed Family and Consumer Sciences. Magaram remained active in the department, teaching nutrition and food science courses until she passed away in 1989.

Located in Sequoia Hall, the Marilyn Magaram Center (MMC) was established in 1991 and has been providing CSUN students with research, education and internship opportunities in food science, nutrition and dietetics ever since. The center has created more than 250 products, collaborated with more than 500 community partners, provided more than 5,000 research and internship opportunities, and reached more than 500,000 community members in its 25-year history, said Annette Besnilian, director of the MMC.

“A mere seed was planted here 25 years ago,” she said. “Like the sunflower directing itself to sunlight, the Marilyn Magaram Center has directed itself toward the light of greatness. Our goal is to continue growing toward a bright future and to continue to be the recognized center of excellence in food science, nutrition and dietetics, serving the global community.”

Attendees at the event enjoyed cooking demonstrations by Diane Worthington, hosted by CSUN alumna Barbara Fairchild ’72 (Journalism) — former editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit Magazine and past recipient of CSUN’s Distinguished Alumni Award — and alumna Paulette Lambert ’75 (Home Economics), the director of nutrition for the California Health and Longevity Institute at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village. 

The celebration also offered visitors numerous food samples and interactive activities in nutrition education, such as research lab tours and taste tests. During the second half of the event, CSUN students and faculty, along with students from Gault Elementary School, delighted the crowd with theater, dance and music performances.

Gault Elementary School is one of the MMC’s partner schools, where the center’s gardening student interns regularly visit to teach children the benefits of a healthy lifestyle by exposing them to self-grown produce. Anatola Avenue Elementary School and Calahan Street Elementary School also participate in the program.

Closer to the end of the celebration, Broadway performers Helen Butleroff Leahy, Laurie Gamache, Roumel Reaux and Jimmy Spadola offered a special performance highlighting the center’s 25 years of excellence.

CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison concluded the night, thanking the Magaram family, particularly Sally and Phil Magaram, for their steadfast support.

“We are so proud of the center and the work of Marilyn Magaram, who promoted a healthy lifestyle and the university’s commitment to serving the community,” she said.

Before Harrison left the stage, Wendy Wachtell, president of the Joseph Drown Foundation, presented a $250,000 donation in honor of Marilyn Magaram and the center.

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