The Oregon Section IFT was chartered on July 9, 1949, as the 16th Regional Section of the Institute of Food Technologists. Initially, there were 56 members, with section dues of $1.00 per member!
During the first few years, meetings of the Section membership were held three times annually. Currently, nine meetings are scheduled for the year. Meetings are planned to provide a friendly, sociable atmosphere to advance communication between individuals, representing industry, government, and education. Tours of processing plants and other food facilities are held in conjunction with Section meetings, offering members and guests a great diversity.
The first Section Suppliers Night was held on March 12, 1973. Nine supplier companies exhibited their products. Currently, Suppliers Night is held every February, and offers suppliers a chance to display their ingredients, food processing systems and equipment, and materials, laboratory equipment and supplies and a variety of services. In recent years, technical sessions have been added as well. Over 165 suppliers were represented at the 2008 Suppliers Night, now known as the Food Ingredient Xpo* (FIX*).
An Executive Committee acting by authority of by-laws has administered the operation and business of the Oregon Section throughout the years. Members at Large represent the Section as its voting representatives on the Council of the IFT and as liaison between the Section and IFT.
Special attention has always been paid to the education and professional training of young people in the field of food science and technology. After obtaining its own charter, the Oregon Section helped the Food Technology Club at Oregon State University to obtain a charter as a Student Section of IFT. It continued to consider students as regular members of the Section, having them participate in meetings and giving financial assistance.
The first award for recognition of the accomplishments of a student in food technology at OSU was conceived in the Student Chapter. It was titled the Ernest H. Wiegand Award, after the teacher, researcher, industry consultant and later head of OSU's Food Technology Department. The first recipient, in 1955, was Richard D. Sleeper, who was judged outstanding in areas of scholarship, activities, leadership and rofessional potential. He received a five-year membership in IFT, a plaque and subscription to Food Technology Magazine.