Kathleen Morgan came to Middlesex County College when she was in her thirties. “I was the oldest of six children,” she said. “My dad was a millwright doing construction. When I graduated from high school, they told me they could only afford to send me to nursing school. I didn’t want to be a nurse.” But she was always interested in health and nutrition and thought learning about that would not only lead to a great career but also benefit her children.
“As a mother of young children, I was really interested in nutrition and wanted to learn more about it through the Dietetic Program,” she said. “My boys laugh about me trying to feed them well.” Dr. Morgan is the 2021 Middlesex College Alumna of the Year. She addressed the class at its virtual Commencement Ceremony on May 20.
“The degree you receive today will be the key that has the potential to open many doors in your future and your success,” she told the class. “I will be forever grateful for the degree that I received here at Middlesex College and the numerous opportunities it provided for me and my family.” After graduating, she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Rutgers University and then a Doctorate in Medical Humanities from Drew University. She is now chair of Family & Community Health Sciences at the Rutgers University Cooperative Extension School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.
Dr. Morgan has taught over 365 classes to more than 9,000 students. She has won 12 national awards, and 18 state and regional awards for leadership and work in the health sciences and related disciplines. She is the author of 26 articles, developed more than 30 Cooperative Education publications, and has led numerous professional associations. She was nominated for the Alumni award by Mary-Pat Maciolek, chair of the Hospitality, Culinary Arts, and Dietetics Department at Middlesex College.
“Any conversation with Kathleen reveals that without the education and encouragement she received at Middlesex College, she would not be where she is today,” Dr. Maciolek said. “Her career is a testament to the mission, vision, and values of the College, for it remains an integral part of who Kathleen is, and what she has accomplished.”
Indeed. Dr. Morgan has accomplished a great deal, including promoting good nutrition in her kids. She’s afraid, however, that lesson may not have fully stuck. “When my oldest went off to college, he said, ‘You’re not going to know what I eat!’” she said with a laugh.