School of Applied Sciences Names Thomas A. Crowe Alumnus of the Year

Elise Smith recognized for lifelong contributions to dietetics and nutrition profession

Elise Smith (left) accepts the Thomas A. Crowe Alumnus of the Year Award from Teresa Carithers, UM interim dean of applied sciences, at the school’s annual gathering for alumni, faculty and staff. UM photo by Sarah Sapp

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s School of Applied Sciences at the University of Mississippi has named Elise Smith, of Brandon, as the Thomas A. Crowe Alumnus of the Year for her outstanding contributions in the field of dietetics and nutrition and her ongoing support of students in the school’s Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management.

Smith is a registered licensed dietitian who has worked in both clinical and food service management positions for more than 30 years. As a founding member of the management team and director of consulting services for Nutrition Systems, Inc., she supervised more than 15 registered dietitians, providing consulting services in 95 health care facilities in the Southeast.

She also served as director of the Food Service Department for St. Dominic Hospital. She is retired but continues consulting for Nutrition Systems Inc.

“Elise was an entrepreneur before many in our profession were choosing that path,” said Kathy Knight, associate professor of nutrition and hospitality management. “Not only has she helped to grow one of the largest dietetics services consulting firms in the state, she has mentored many young dietitians and dietetics students.”

Nutrition Systems Inc. is a family of branded companies, each dedicated to optimizing food services with expert management. The seven brands of Nutrition Systems – purchasing, consulting, wellness, contracting, menus and purchasing allianceoperate independently but share a commitment to diligence, consistency and a legacy of seamless service for clients served.

“As part of her commitment to the fields of nutrition and dietetics, her firm serves by educating post-graduate dietetics students in their practica/rotations needed to become a registered dietitian nutritionist,” said David H. Holben, professor of nutrition and hospitality management. “In addition, Ms. Smith has hired many UM alumni and mentored them to a successful career.”

Smith has played a significant role in shaping nutrition policy across the region, having served in numerous positions in state and national dietetic associations, including president of the Mississippi Dietetic Association, chair of the Nutrition Care Process/Standardized Language Committee, Mississippi’s affiliate delegate in the House of Delegates, House of Delegates director and a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics board of directors.

She also is past speaker of the academy’s House of Delegates and is chair-elect of the its Political Action Committee.

Janie Cole, senior registered dietitian and director of the coordinated program in dietetics, described Smith as the epitome of what the university stands for.

“When I first met Elise, I quickly realized that she was an ‘outside the box’ thinker,” Cole said. “Her ‘can-do’ attitude and her love for people are certainly impressive. She has mentored countless students and volunteered for numerous organizations.

“She continued to help others while she fought and won her own battle with cancer. Elise has worked effortlessly to not only promote the dietetics profession, but to move it forward.”

Smith holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ole Miss. She was married to the late Glenn Smith, and they have one son, Eric, who lives in Austin, Texas. She attends St. Marks United Methodist Church.

The School of Applied Sciences offers professional preparation programs that integrate academic study, clinical training, creative research, service-learning and community outreach, leading to the development of leaders whose professional endeavors will improve health and well-being. The school’s vision is for academic excellence – that each department will be recognized by their respective scientific, professional and community organizations as a hub for scholarly thought, professional development and community impact.

For more information about the School of Applied Sciences or the Thomas A. Crowe Alumnus of the Year Award, visit