Susan Nitzke, professor emerita and former chair of nutritional sciences, dies at 71

Susan Nitzke, professor emerita in the Department of Nutritional Sciences who taught people how to apply nutritional science to their lives for over 30 years, passed away early last week after a long struggle with pancreatic cancer. She was 71 years old.

Born Aug. 23, 1946, in Byron, Wisconsin, Nitzke grew up an active participant in 4-H and other extension programs. She earned her PhD from the UW–Madison Department of Nutritional Sciences in 1986, and joined the faculty 1987 as an assistant professor and an extension specialist.

During her career, Nitzke made many important contributions to research-based outreach and teaching in the area of community nutrition education. Her research and program interests included adapting educational materials for special target groups, such as low-literacy; promoting critical thinking in nutrition via educational materials and methodology; and improving the health and nutrition of school-age children and older adults.

She was a regular featured expert on Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and other print and mass media, helping to inform public policy decision makers and extension educators across the state.

Nitzke received the college’s Pound Extension Award in 1995. In 2014, she was awarded the Helen D. Ullrich award from the Society of Nutrition Education and Behavior, the society’s highest honor for lifetime achievement.

Read her full obituary on

A memorial celebration will be held at the Fluno Center, 601 University Ave., Madison, at 4 p.m., on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. Online condolences may be made at