The Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Service Award


Mrs. Margaret Edsel Fitch
Home Economist

Mrs. Margaret Edsel Fitch

Mrs. Margaret Edsel Fitch

In her role as a United Nations consultant, Mrs. Margaret Edsel Fitch has traveled the world developing and strengthening home economics programs. She is also the only U.S. citizen ever elected president of the International Federation for Home Economics, a worldwide organization with members in more that 90 countries.

The Dewey County native holds both the bachelor and master of science degrees in home economics from Oklahoma State University.

She began her career as a vocational homemaking teacher in Waynoda, Oklahoma, in 1942. She served as an extension home economist in Cimarron County for two years, then in Canadian County from 1945 to 1970 when she became the state leader of home economics at the University of Arizona. From 1974 to 1975 she served as president of the American Home Economics Association.

From Arizona, she move to Hawaii to become acting associate director of extension with administrative responsibility for the state's extension program. At the time, she was the only woman in the U.S. serving in that capacity.

On the international scene, Mrs. Fitch has traveled to Qatar on behalf of UNESCO to evaluate the potential for a master's degree program in that country's university. She also went to the Pacific Island of Tonga, at the request of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, to plan and develop a cooperative extension home economics program.

Mrs. Fitch has been described as an untiring worker and a phenomenal organizer who has done much to promote and advance the field of home economics around the world.

Year of Award: 1986