Emil M. Mrak

Emil M. Mrak

Emil Marcel Mrak, (October 27, 1901-April 9, 1987), was an American food scientist and microbiologist who later became Chancellor of University of California, Davis from 1959 to 1969. He was recognized internationally for his work in food preservation and as a world authority on the biology of yeasts.

Early life

Born in San Francisco, Mrak graduated from Campbell High School in Campbell, California. He received a B.S. degree in Food Technology in 1926, M.S. degree in 1928, and Ph.D. degree in botany and mycology in 1936 from University of California, Berkeley. While an undergraduate at Berkeley, Mrak was a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.

Career at Berkeley, then Davis

He was appointed as an instructor in Food Technology at UC Davis in 1937 and rose to the rank of Professor and department chairman in 1948. In 1951, he would lead the move of the department to its current location at UC-Davis. Mrak would be appointed chancellor of UC-Davis in 1959, serving in that position until 1969. He would be the first food scientist to ever be named president or chancellor of a college or university. The only other food scientist to have this honor is James L. Oblinger, chancellor of the North Carolina State University in Raleigh since 2005.

ervice with the Institute of Food Technologists

A charter member of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in 1939, Mrak would serve as its President in 1957-58. He would also win numerous awards within IFT, including the Nicholas Appert Award (1957), the Babcock-Hart Award (1961), the International Award (1963), the Carl R. Fellers Award (1984 - first ever winner), and a Fellow (1970 - among the first class of 27 fellows inducted). He also served as chair of IFT's [http://www.ift.org/sections/ncift/oldguard.htm Northern California Section] in 1947-48.


Mrak died in Davis, California on April 9, 1987. [http://vcadmin.ucdavis.edu/ Mrak Hall] , the administration office building on the UC Davis campus, is named in his honor. UC Davis also named the [http://www.ucdavis-alumni.com/pages/AWARDS_mrak.htm Emil M. Mrak International Award] in his honor starting in 1988.

Other awards and honors

*Alpha Gamma Rho Chi Brothers of the Century: 1923
*Alpha Gamma Rho Hall of Fame: 1980
*University of California, Berkeley Alumnus of the Year: 1969

See also

*List of University of California, Berkeley alumni


* on the Davis Wiki
* [http://www.ccagraa.org/chi_brothers_of_the_century.htm Alpha Gamma Rho Chi brothers of the century]
* [http://www.alphagammarho.org/page.php?parent_id=&page_id-3490 Alpha Gamma Rho Hall of Fame]
* [http://www-foodsci.ucdavis.edu/about/centennial-record Centennial history of University of California (food science and technology)]
* [http://www-foodsci.ucdavis.edu/about/history Food Science and Technology history at UC-Davis]
* [http://www.ift.org/cms/?pid=1000288 List of IFT fellows]
* [http://members.ift.org/IFT/Awards/AchievmentAwards/AwardWinners/pastawardwinners.htm List of IFT past award winners]
* [http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/~ucalhist/archives_exhibits/in_memoriam/catalog/mrak_emil_m.html University of California: In Memoriam, 1987.]
* [http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/calhistory/alumni-year.html University of California, Berkeley Alumnus of the Year awards]

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