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Faculty Legends: Flora Rose

Flora Rose

Flora Rose See larger image

A beloved teacher and co-director of Cornell’s College of Home Economics (now the College of Human Ecology), Flora Rose (1874-1959) served Cornell for 33 years, helping develop and guide the study of nutrition, child development and other topics relating to health and daily life.

Her idea of bringing home economics to higher education began before she arrived on the Hill. In 1905, one year after her graduation from Kansas State Agricultural College, Rose sent letters to Cornell and Stanford universities, urging the two schools to consider creating home economics departments.

Two years later, Cornell gave Rose the opportunity to do just that, hiring her to teach nutrition and head a fledgling home economics department along with Martha Van Rensselaer.

In a 1950 issue of Alumni News, Dean Howard B. Meek, founder of Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, said of Rose: “It was an interesting experience to see Flora Rose come up with a new idea, sell it to Miss Van Rensselaer, and then by force of personality enlist for it the enthusiasm of the staff.”

Under Rose and Van Rensselaer’s instruction and leadership, the Department of Home Economics grew into a School of Home Economics in 1919 and became the College of Home Economics in 1925. In 1969, it was renamed the College of Human Ecology.

During her years at Cornell, Rose also served as deputy director of the Food Conservation Bureau of the New York State Food Commission. She helped lead research and development of the low-cost, vitamin-enriched cereals Milkorno, Milkoato and Milkwheato, and was awarded the Insignia of the Order of the Crown by King Albert of Belgium for organizing food relief for malnourished Belgian schoolchildren.

In a memorial statement for Rose, some of her faculty colleagues summarized their memory of her:

“The abiding picture is one of vividness and warmth, of poise and strength, of open-door hospitality, of instant and personal interest and of loyal friendship.”

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