Nutritional sciences alumna establishes scholarship at Penn State

Marjorie S. Miller
February 25, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A Penn State alumna and distinguished leader in the field of clinical nutrition, Sandra Schlicker Renfro has made the largest gift commitment focused on supporting students in the history of the Department of Nutritional Sciences. 

Renfro established the Sandra Schlicker Renfro Scholarship in 2018 with a gift of $100,000, and will be adding additional funds to the endowment through her estate. The scholarship will benefit nutritional sciences students with financial need in the College of Health and Human Development. 

Craig Newschaffer, Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean of the College of Health and Human Development, said, “Dr. Renfro’s accomplishments in her career have been outstanding, and now she inspires us with her philanthropic leadership. Her gift will have a tremendous impact on students, supporting them at critical times in their academic careers. I am deeply grateful for her generous support.” 

Renfro earned her undergraduate degree in science in1965, and her graduate degree in nutrition in 1970. She began her career as an assistant professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University. Her work in the private sector has included directing nutrition and consumer regulatory affairs and the management of school foods service programs. In the public sector she served for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the government of the District of Columbia. 

“The Renfro Scholarship will be immensely helpful in providing support for the high-quality undergraduate education in nutritional sciences that Penn State is well known for,” said Catharine Ross, head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences. “In her career, Dr. Renfro has always supported the practical application of clinical and public health nutrition knowledge, to both the public and private sectors. The Department of Nutritional Sciences is honored that she selected Penn State for this important scholarship endowment.” 

Renfro said her experiences as a graduate student, and her career in the nutrition field, motivated her to create the scholarship.

“I hope my scholarship gives undergraduate students an opportunity they might not otherwise have to receive an education so they can pursue their dreams,” Renfro said. “Penn State gave me a wonderful education, and it’s time to give back.”

Renfro received the 2017 Outstanding Nutrition Alumni Award from the Nutrition and Dietetics Alumni Society. She has also served on numerous boards and committees, including the advisory committee for the White House Conference on Aging, the District of Columbia Licensure Board of Nutrition and Dietetics, the board of the Society for Nutrition Education Foundation, Penn State’s Nutrition and Dietetics Society Board of Trustees, and the College of Health and Human Development Alumni Council. 

Renfro and her husband, Bill Renfro, reside in the Palm Beach, Florida area. 

This gift will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 12, 2019