Linda Houtkooper

Areas of Achievement: 
Higher Education

For more than 30 years Linda Houtkooper has been a role model, mentor, and colleague, as well as cherished friend to the students, faculty and staff with the good fortune to work with her. Her professionalism, collegiality, and good humor, along with her scholarly works, are well known in Arizona, the U.S. and abroad. Linda began her professional career at The University of Arizona, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences in 1985 as a Lecturer in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science. The following year when the Department of Nutrition and Food Science changed to the Department of Nutritional Sciences she was hired as an Assistant Specialist where she earned promotions and continued to move up through the ranks, and ultimately became the Department Head in 2003. Her talent as an administrator was evident as she led the department through strategic planning and the creation of a Departmental Vision, Mission, Values and Goals and the action plans for achieving them. Dr. Houtkooper's tireless efforts, determination, even-handed management, and vision created an environment that supported growth and the excellence in instruction, research, and extension programs for which the department is now known. With Linda's support, the Department's Didactic Program in Dietetics was fully accredited in 2006 by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education, the accrediting agency of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Linda was the driving force behind the Department's first biennial Research Frontiers in Nutritional Sciences Conference. The reputation of the Department was elevated across the nation as a result of this exposure.

Dr. Houtkooper was recognized as Administrator of the Year in 2007 before stepping down as Department Head in 2008 to become Associate Director of Programs for Cooperative Extension. Some of her many other honors and awards include: 2000 Extension Faculty Person of the Year, CALS; 2005 Elected to Fellowship Status [FACSM], American College of Sports Medicine; 2009 Sciences Board ̱ President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition; 2011 Outstanding Team Award, AZ Nutrition Network ̱ SNAP-Ed Program, CALS.

The Arizona Cooperative Extension and the Department of Nutritional Sciences in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences thank Dr. Linda Houtkooper for her many years of service and dedication. She has consistently displayed leadership, great energy, genuine caring for her colleagues, and an unwavering commitment to excellence that is the hallmark of her career at The University of Arizona.


Linda's integrity, professionalism and leadership are exceptional. I greatly respect and appreciate her and her work for Cooperative Extension.
~ Sheila Merrigan, Coordinator, Information Technology, UA

I am blessed and honored to know Dr. Linda Houtkooper as a colleague, friend, and fellow advocate for the role nutrition and physical activity play in health and disease prevention. The UA couldn't find a more fitting person to honor with this award. Over 30 years ago she had a vision for the State of Arizona to be engaged in nutrition, food and physical activity for the prevention of obesity and chronic disease. Now Arizona is one of the leaders in this area, while the rest of the country works to catch-up.
~Melinda M. Manore, PhD, RD, CSSD, FACSM, Professor, Nutrition, Oregon State University

Linda has been my mentor and role model since I started working in the department of Nutritional Sciences. Linda has taken this department and Cooperative Extension to the leading edge of the University. Even more important are the trusts, professional relationships, and friendships she has developed in public and private over that time. She will be remembered forever!
~Nobuko [Kay] Hongu, Associate Extension Specialist, Nutritional Sciences, UA

It has been always a pleasure to work with you and to have your friendship. I hope it will continue well as we pursue other paths. Thanks for all the good times; here's to the future.
~Joy Winzerling, Bart Cardon Associate Dean for Career and Academic Services, Professor, Nutritional Sciences, UA

We are so appreciative of all that Linda has done for us. She is an excellent example of what true leadership is, and we have appreciated her care and concern for us and our programming, as well as her presence to events, meetings, and conferences we have been a part of. She is a joy to be around and we are all better people for having had the chance to work with her.
~Traci Armstrong Florian, Assistant Agent, Maricopa County EFNEP and SNAP-Ed and Staff

It has been an absolute pleasure being your student, your mentee, and your colleague. I can say with 100% certainty that I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you! The many opportunities you've provided me over the years set me down the path to a wonderful career, and you will always have my respect and my thanks!
~Melanie Hingle, PhD, MPH, RD, Assistant Professor, Nutritional Sciences, UA

True to her professionalism, she leads the way for the rest of us to follow her star. Her mentoring, support and guidance, AND friendship have meant the world to me, both personally and professionally. Thank you, Linda!
~Scottie Misner, PhD, RD, Extension Specialist, State EFNEP/SNAP-Ed Coordinator, Nutritional Sciences, UA