Melinda Valliant Named Chair of Nutrition and Hospitality Management

New leader brings years of clinical practice, teaching, research and service to evolving department

Melinda Valliant, a professor of nutrition and hospitality management and co-director of the Center for Health and Sports Performance, is the new chair of the UM Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – With the University of Mississippi‘s spring semester in full swing, Melinda Valliant is settling in to her new leadership role as chair of the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management.

A professor of nutrition and hospitality management and co-director of the Center for Health and Sports Performance, Valliant is looking forward to leading NHM as the department continues to grow its name recognition, outreach and impact.

“I want to make Nutrition and Hospitality Management a household name,” she said. “When our community, region and state have nutrition and hospitality management needs, I want them coming to us.”

The Drew native and Ole Miss sports fanatic also has plans to increase research collaborations and funding to allow for doctoral and post-doctoral student recruitment, along with improvements to facilities, program expansion and graduate student training over the next five years.

“Dr. Valliant brings a wealth of clinical nutrition experience and a strong background in academics,” said Peter Grandjean, dean of the School of Applied Sciences. “She is recognized for her cutting-edge research in sports nutrition and athletic performance

“If ever there was someone who values a team approach to answering important questions, addressing big issues and improving our services, Dr. Melinda Valliant is that person. (She) is a leader who can help us fulfill our school’s mission to learn, lead and serve to improve the health and well-being of Mississippi, our nation and world.”

After working alongside a host of physicians, clinicians, sport coaches, exercise scientists, athletic trainers, public health experts and colleagues in hospitality and sport administration, Valliant has a great understanding and appreciation for professionals in the field. That’s a quality students such as Katie Halfacre, an NHM doctoral candidate from Winona, admire.

“Dr. Valliant will bring about positive change in our department,” Halfacre said. “She is a respected professional who will promote scholarly activity by further developing the collegial culture within our department.”

Valliant joined the Ole Miss faculty in 2004 as an adjunct assistant professor for the departments of Nutrition and Hospitality Management and Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management.

She is also a three-time graduate of departments that are housed in the School of Applied Sciences, receiving her bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics, and her master’s and doctorate in exercise science.

“To be able to lead the department that provided me with my start is such a privilege and honor,” she said.

For more information about programs and offerings in the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management, visit