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Scholarship honors sister's contributions to public health nutrition

Marguerite Queneau’s brother Bernard Queneau, Ph.D., and his wife, Esther Queneau.

Within about a decade of graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1925 with a degree in home economics, Queneau became the first public health nutritionist for the New York State Department of Health, where she helped build the department’s reputation as a pioneer in public health nutrition.

She earned a master’s degree in child development and served overseas as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army and head dietitian for the 34th General Hospital during World War II.

Queneau also shared her expertise internationally. She taught maternal and child nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, was a Fulbright Teaching Fellow in Paris, and spent a year in Rome with the United Nations Food Agricultural Organization.

And when she retired—at the mandatory age of 70—she continued to learn about her chosen field. Queneau attended her last international conference on nutrition as honorary chairperson at age 85.

“She kept going, like most of the Queneaus do,” says her 96-year-old brother, Bernard Queneau, Ph.D., who earned his doctorate in metallurgy at the University in 1936.

After Margot—as she was called—died in 1994, Bernie Queneau wanted to do something to honor her. “She really was quite an outstanding nutritionist,” he says.

So the next year, Bernie and his siblings established a scholarship in Margot’s name at the University’s School of Public Health (SPH). Their parents had met as students at the University, and three of the six Queneau children have degrees from the University, so it was close to their hearts.

When another brother, Roland Queneau, died in 1997, one-third of his estate went to the Marguerite Queneau Memorial Scholarship Endowment. The size and impact of the fund grew substantially.

A Queneau scholarship allows Lacey Arneson to pursue her passion for research.

The endowment is now valued at more than $700,000. To date, 33 SPH students have received the Queneau scholarship, which supports research assistantships and student and faculty development in the school’s Public Health Nutrition Program.

Lacey Arneson, one of three SPH students to receive the scholarship in the 2007-08 academic year, says it has allowed her to pursue her passion: research.

“This scholarship has provided me the opportunity to network with many researchers at the University and has opened more doors for me than I could have ever imagined,” she says. “I also had the privilege of meeting Dr. Bernard Queneau and hearing about what an amazing individual Marguerite was. It’s been an honor to have this scholarship and to be considered worthy of following in her footsteps.”

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