The Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences has a long and rich history at the University of Idaho. The school was founded in 1902 as the Department of Domestic Sciences and later became known as the Department of Home Economics. The department officially changed to the Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences in 1993, after Margaret Ritchie, a beloved professor and head of the former Department of Home Economics from 1938-1959.
With humble yet powerful beginnings in Ridenbaugh Hall and an all-female cadre of faculty and students, initial courses included topics such as combustion, food principles, fermentation and preservation of foods, dairy foods, marketing, bacteriology, physiology, home economics and chemistry. Classes related to clothing and textiles, interior design, housing, child development and family studies were later added.
Since 1952, the Niccolls Building on the Moscow campus has been home to our programs. In 1982 the department was moved from the College of Letters and Sciences to the College of Agriculture where it continues to reside. We also offer programming at the University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene and Boise centers.
FCS faculty and staff are committed to the three-pronged mission of land-grant universities: teaching, research and extension. We meet the educational needs of students, Idaho citizens and the region through our research and outreach programs.
Our holistic and interdisciplinary programs address issues facing individuals and families by seeking solutions to improve the quality of their lives in their near environment. Financial illiteracy, childhood obesity, issues of fast fashion and social responsibility, family violence, parent/child relationships and aging population are but a few of the issues addressed by FCS professionals.
Today, the school boasts more than 200 students, seven undergraduate majors and two graduate degrees. The foundation of the Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences is inspired by the principle that happy, healthy, empowered individuals and families are the foundation of a strong society.