Health and wellness expert to lead MSU department

Health and wellness expert to lead MSU department

The executive vice president and provost of the University of Western States in Portland, Oregon, has been named head of the Mississippi State University Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion.

By: Karen Brasher

Marion Willard "Will" Evans begins his position December 1. A master certified health education specialist and certified wellness practitioner, Evans brings experience and leadership in health promotion and wellness.

"We are excited to welcome Will Evans to lead the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion at Mississippi State," said George M. Hopper, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. "Evans is a proven leader who will further strengthen the university's priority of global food security."

Teaching families about healthy eating and proper food use is a vital element of food security, Hopper explained. Evans' background in nutrition and wellness will build on the department's research program, which seeks to make food safe and accessible while training the next generation of leaders, he said.

After operating a private chiropractic practice for 17 years, Evans returned to academia and served in numerous positions, including dean of academics at the U.S. Sports Academy in Alabama and director of wellness initiatives at Parker University in Dallas, Texas.

During his tenure at the University of Western States, Evans added 13 new degrees and certification programs in nutrition, clinical sciences, and sports and exercise science. He also established outreach centers to promote improved nutrition and lifestyle choices.

"Dr. Evans is joining Mississippi State at a pivotal time in Extension history, as we bring healthy living education initiatives to the forefront of our family and consumer sciences programming," said Gary Jackson, director of the MSU Extension Service. "His administrative expertise and background in health promotion and wellness give him the right balance of skills to effectively lead this department and positively affect the lives of Mississippians."

The department includes faculty and staff with appointments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, and MSU Extension Service.

It offers an undergraduate degree in food science, nutrition and health promotion with five concentrations, as well as a degree in culinology. Master's and doctoral degrees are also offered through the department, including a distance master's degree in health promotion.

Evans earned his bachelor's degree from Indiana University and his doctoral and master"s degrees from the University of Alabama. He received a doctor of chiropractic degree from Logan University.

To find out more about the department, visit

View More News