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The College of Human Ecology hosted a symposium and retirement celebration for S. Kay Obendorf, professor in the Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design, on Sept. 8, 2016. Reflecting upon Obendorf's 50 years at Cornell, speakers from industry and academia addressed her significant contributions as a researcher, teacher, mentor and administrator, with a special focus on her integrating vision for the future of the College of Human Ecology.

In the laboratory, Obendorf made breakthroughs related to the surface chemistry of fibers and their performance, with applications in the areas of protective clothing, detergency, human health, and functional textiles. As an administrator, she helped to transform the College of Home Economics into the modern College of Human Ecology, developing interdisciplinary curricula and programs that integrate the natural sciences, social sciences and design fields.