MSU CANR names Jacobs Ivens 2018 outstanding alumnus

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) at Michigan State University is honoring six leaders in agriculture and natural resources for their community, state and national leadership.

March 7, 2018

Barbara Ivens

EAST LANSING, MI — The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) at Michigan State University is honoring six leaders in agriculture and natural resources for their community, state and national leadership. The awards will be presented on March 9 during the annual ANR Week luncheon at the Huntington Club at Spartan Stadium.

Barbara Jacobs Ivens will receive an Outstanding Alumnus Award.

For over 40 years, Jacobs Ivens has made tremendous contributions to the food science and product development industry, serving in leadership roles to promote healthful food choices and balanced nutrition.

Jacobs Ivens received a bachelor’s degree in foods and nutrition at the University of Texas Health Science Center and a master’s in human nutrition and foods from MSU. She began her career at Gerber Products Company in Fremont, Michigan, as a research dietitian in professional communications and advanced in leadership roles at Gerber and beyond.

Jacobs Ivens provided key insights in the development of Gerber Graduates, which became a $100 million product line, and was a leader in connecting the nutrition and product development teams. At Tropicana, she worked on key nutritional messaging for consumers and helped bring together the company’s innovation group and the American Dietetic Association in product development.

She also served as director of nutrition for PepsiCo Beverages and Foods, and executive director of nutrition and health professional engagement for ConAgra Foods Inc.

“It was not common for women to hold leadership positions in the food industry when Barbara first started, but throughout her career, she advanced,” said Stella Cash in supporting Jacobs Ivens’ nomination. Cash is senior advisor to the president and provost for international engagement at MSU. “Barbara is known in the food industry, some of the largest in the country, as a person of integrity.”

In 2017, Jacobs Ivens received the first Trailblazer Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Institute of Food Technologists for her exceptional leadership and advancement of science in nutrition and dietetics and food science.

She has served on the G. Malcolm Trout Scholarship Council since 2003. Each year, the council awards scholarships to dozens of students in the MSU Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. She is a longtime trustee (now emeritus) on the DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation.

As an alumnus, Ms. Jacobs Ivens leaves an impressive legacy of community service, leadership and promotion of food science and human nutrition.

The Outstanding Alumnus Award honors a CANR alum who has distinguished themselves by obtaining the highest level of professional accomplishments, and who possess the highest standards of integrity and character.

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