Jean Phillips

Jean Allen Phillips (1919 - July 16, 2003) was a member of the faculty in Human Nutrition and Foods from 1969 until her retirement in 1986. She taught hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students about the physical and chemical properties of foods.

Phillips was a native of Tennessee who received B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and a Ph.D. from Purdue. A devoted educator, she taught high school home economics in West Virginia and Tennessee and foods courses at Purdue and the University of Tennessee-Martin before coming to Virginia Tech. She also served as a dietitian at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

At Purdue, she was one of six "outstanding professors" featured in the student yearbook, and in 1974, Phillips received the William E. Wine Award at Virginia Tech, which is presented annually to three faculty members who demonstrate a history of university teaching excellence.

She assisted Dr. Gladys Vail with the sixth edition of the classic text Foods. She was the principal author of the seventh (and last) edition of the book published in 1978, which received a Certificate of Excellence from the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Phillips also developed the lab manual that accompanied the textbook.

Phillips participated in professional organizations and was the first woman to serve as president of the Virginia Tech Chapter of Sigma Xi, a scientific honorary. She was an active member of the American and Virginia Home Economics associations and the American and Virginia Dietetic associations and served as a liaison committee between the two associations at the national level.

After retiring, Jean Phillips moved to Birmingham, Alabama to be near family where she continued to share her extensive knowledge of foods.


The Peacock-Harper Culinary Collection, one of the unique Special Collections housed at the University Libraries, awards an annual Jean Allen Phillips Scholarship each fall (the application link is opened early each fall). Applicants should have scholarly pursuits that encompass topics related to material in this collection, such as the history of foods, human nutrition, or food culture.