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Vanguard: News from the College of Human Environmental Sciences

Shining a Light on Career Achievements

Posted: Jul. 13, 2016

Congratulations to Stephen R. Jorgensen, Dean Emeritus, College of Human Environmental Sciences, who received a Legends of the Field honor recognizing his 39 years of leadership and service to family and consumer sciences. Recognition came at the 2016 American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences 107th annual conference and expo held in Bellevue, Washington June 22-25th. The honor was given by AAFCS, as well as the honor societies Kappa Omicron Nu and Phi Upsilon Omicron.

Jorgensen is featured in a book of Family and Consumer Sciences leaders that is autobiographical, with snippets from his early years as an educator at the University of Arizona at Tucson and moving on to Texas Tech University, where he served as the associate dean for research and graduate studies in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, through his 14-year deanship at the University of Missouri.

Jorgensen’s research is in the area of adolescent sexual behavior, contraceptive use and pregnancy-risk, which he began at the University of Arizona where he was mentored by Robert Rice, director of the School of Home Economics and an MU alum, and Hershel Thornburg, in the Department of Educational Psychology, a leading national scholar in adolescent development. He moved on to Texas Tech, and later to the University of Arkansas, and then MU.

Dr. Jorgensen accepting award

Dr. Stephen R. Jorgensen, Dean Emeritus receives Legends of the Field Award: photo from AAFCS

Jorgensen achieved significant accomplishments at the UARK when he organized a team to construct a hotel and restaurant facility on the campus that would serve as a laboratory for the small Restaurant Management/Hospitality programs. Several trips to Little Rock to plead the case for preserving an historic building and having secured $2 million in state historic preservation money along with several million more from other sources, a once condemned building was converted to a first class boutique hotel that now stands tall and proud on the Arkansas quad. The Inn at Carnall Hall, which was once a women’s dormitory, and Ella’s Restaurant, illuminate women’s history on the campus and preserves the legacy of Ella Carnall, an icon who was the first female faculty member at Arkansas.

In 2001, when Bea Smith retired as MU HES Dean, Jorgensen took the helm and achieved his second proudest moment when partnering with faculty researchers in the Schools of Health Professions and Medicine, they created a comprehensive center for families as well as children with autism, funded by Bill and Nancy Thompson. In 2004, Jorgensen was instrumental in the $8.5 million donations that created the Thompson Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders, a nationally respected operation recognized for its excellence in autism diagnosis, treatment, and family support.

Jorgensen writes in conclusion "It has been a blessing for me to have had the opportunity to serve."