Marilyn Magaram studied Physical Therapy at the University of Southern California. After graduation she met and then married Phil Magaram-they had two children, Justin and Jodi. After they were ready for school, Marilyn decided to enroll at California State University, Northridge to study Food Science and Nutrition. While at CSUN, Marilyn was inducted into the Omicron Nu Honor Society. Her studies led her to specialize in research of folic acid in mung beans. She earned her Master's Degree in 1984. After graduation she began teaching at CSUN and at the UCLA Extension program. Later she opened a private practice as a Registered Dietitian, where she specialized in low calorie, gourmet cooking. In 1989, during a trip to Austrailia, Marilyn died in a rafting accident. In order to honor and remember her work, her husband established the Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics.
The Marilyn Magaram Center
Do you remember when?
by Dr. Audrey Clark
Cirque du Soleil¹ performers provided a rousing welcome to guests at the Dedication and Grand Opening of our Magaram Center in the CSUN Fine Arts Building on June 15, 1991. The Center still seems new to some of us. Yet, many of the students now entering CSUN were not yet alive on that day. Guests viewed the state-of-the-art laboratories, dined al fresco and celebrated the dream facility that had long been envisioned by the Food Science and Nutrition faculty.
The Center was brought into reality by Philip Magaram and his family as a tribute and memorial to their wife and mother, Marilyn. Marilyn Magaram received her M.S. from CSUN and was an instructor of Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics. Her life was cut short in a tragic river rafting accident in Australia. The efforts of family and other donors who treasured her memory resulted in a resource that is not only important to CSUN students, but supports the professional dietetics and food science community and serves the community at large.
It all came tumbling down!
Less than four years after the opening, the Magaram Center suffered what could have been a total disaster in the form of the Northridge Earthquake. Amazingly, the entire Fine Arts building was condemned except for the Magaram Center wing itself. Classes continued to be held in the wing until the building was demolished. Largely because of research and activities going on at the Center and the persistence of Dr. Tung Shan Chen, the Center’s original Director, the university provided a complex of plumbed and wired trailers to house the program until a new facility could be opened several years later. The support of Phil Magaram, the Drown Foundation, other donors and the Magaram Center Advisory Board was critical during these years.
Rising like Phoenix
Few university laboratories enjoy major upgrades within ten years of origination. However unwelcome was the Northridge Earthquake, it provided a grand opportunity to enlarge the Center as it moved to Sequoia Hall. The current facility includes the Nobbs Auditorium and an advanced food science laboratory. It also includes enhanced office, conference, and classroom preparation space. Yet, the Center staff under Dr. Joyce Gilbert is constantly working to meet the challenges of ever-changing technology and new strands of research. A current goal is to enhance the sensory evaluation units to meet professional standards—a goal we would like to meet in 2011.
Tom Chen - Founding Director
It is my privilege to say a few words about Marilyn's hero, Dr. Tom Chen, on his retirement from serving as the first Director of the Marilyn Magaram Center. According to Webster's dictionary, a hero is "a man admired for his achievements and qualities." Tom brought the Marilyn Magaram Center from my vague concept to reality when the Center opened in 1991. Under Tom's leadership important programs were developed that benefited CSUN students and the community. The Center is truly a showplace and a tribute to Tom's vision and his ability to do things well. My family and I take this opportunity to say, Tom, we love you and thank you for having made the Center something Marilyn would have been proud of.