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Eppright, Ercel

Published onAug 04, 2021
Eppright, Ercel

(May 4, 1901 — December 30, 1992)

Quick Facts

In her research at the Iowa Agricultural and Home Economics Experiment Station, Eppright specialized in nutrition for Iowa school and pre-school children. She also taught nutrition to women in Iraq.


Ercel Eppright was a Professor in the Food & Nutrition Department and Assistant Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station at Iowa State College (ISC, now Iowa State University). Eppright was born in Isabel, Illinois on May 4, 1901 to Dutee and Adda (Williams) Sherman.

Eppright earned a BS from the University of Missouri in 1923 with a major in education and a minor in home economics. She then earned a MS in food & nutrition from the University of Texas in 1930. In 1936, Eppright earned a PhD in physiological chemistry from Yale.

She started her career teaching K-12 in Missouri and Kansas. She was an instructor at the University of Texas in 1930-32, then in 1935 she became a Professor and Head of the Home Economics Department at the Texas State College for Women.

In 1945, Eppright became Professor and Head of the Food & Nutrition Department at Iowa State College. She also became a Professor at the Iowa Agricultural and Home Economics Experiment Station. In 1961, Eppright became Assistant Director of the Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station and Assistant Dean in charge of research and graduate work.

In her research, Dr. Eppright specialized in the nutrition of Iowa school and preschool children. During her time as head of the Food & Nutrition Department, the curriculum expanded, the department acquired more modern equipment and extra space was devoted to research.

Eppright belonged to a number of professional organizations including the American Home Economics Association, the American Dietetic Association, and the American Institute of Nutrition. She was honored with the Borden Award from the American Home Economics Association in 1961. She also has a Faculty Citation from the Iowa State University Alumni Association and an Alumnae Citation from Central College. She holds a Citation of Merit from the School of Home Economics and the University of Missouri Alumni Association.

Eppright made many contributions to improving nutrition and helping spread home economics knowledge globally. From 1957-1958, Eppright helped to launch and teach a home economics program in Baghdad, Iraq. This was in service to the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. She served as instructor at Queen Aliys College for Women and helped develop the home economics curriculum for the college, as well as to helped plan a program for home economics education in secondary schools in Iraq.

About educating women in Iraq, Eppright is quoted in an Iowa State Daily article saying, “the men cannot go on without the women’s influence. The women’s new role must begin as far down as the elementary grades. The Iraq woman is powerful in the home. She must be powerful in public life as well.”

In 1966-67, Eppright she worked for the Baroda Project. During this project, teachers from India came to Iowa State to study and learn about the home economics program. Iowa State faculty members also traveled to India to help set up the home economics school, and Eppright traveled there twice to help them set up their long-term research goals. In 1969, she served as a consultant for home economics research and graduate study at the Universidade Rurale Do Estado De Minas Gerais in Vicosa, Brazil.

Eppright co-wrote several books including A Century of Home Economics at Iowa State University and Teaching Nutrition. There was a scholarship set up in her name at Iowa State and the first recipients received their awards in 1971.

She married Frank Eppright in 1925 and the pair had two children; James and Dorothy (Swanson) Eppright. Upon her retirement in 1971, Eppright was honored with the title of Professor Emerita. She died in 1992 in Texas.

Selected Sources

Eppright, Ercel S., Bess. Ferguson, and Iowa State University. Home Economics Alumni Association. A Century of Home Economics at Iowa State University. A Proud Past, a Lively Present, a Future Promise. Written by Ercel Sherman Eppright and Elizabeth Storm Ferguson. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1971.

Ercel S. Eppright Papers, RS 12/6/14, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library, Ames, Iowa.

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