Susan D. Crissey, Ph.D.
December 12, 1951 – November 23, 2002
Sue Crissey earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in human nutrition from Michigan State University and spent four years with the FDA before accepting a scholarship from the University of Maryland to pursue a Ph.D. in animal nutrition. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution’s Conservation Research Center in Front Royal, Virginia and began field work studying howler monkeys in Venezuela. From there she joined the staff of the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago where she developed and led their nutrition program.
Sue continued as Director of Nutrition for Brookfield Zoo until her death. It was much to North Carolina State University’s advantage when Sue moved to Burgaw, North Carolina to be with her husband, Chris Smith. She accepted an appointment as adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences and taught many students the basics of zoological nutrition. Sue was an energetic and engaging lecturer who could draw on her work with nutritional diseases in species from rhinoceros, wild felids, Howler Monkeys, golden marmosets, bottlenosed dolphins, Micronesian kingfisher, and many more to illustrate her talks. Sue published over 100 scientific papers, including several seminal topical reviews. In 2002, she was awarded the Duane E. Ullrey Achievement Award by the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians for her distinguished work.
Sue loved her North Carolina farm, and maintained a significant menagerie of zoo retirees and castaways there, commuting from her home in Burgaw, to Chicago to manage her zoo duties, and traveling to Raleigh at the drop of a hat to teach. Sue was a meticulous scientist whose enthusiastic joy of teaching and insistence on “good science” have become part of those who were lucky enough to be around her for any length of time. Future generations of zoological nutritionists are richer for her having been, but poorer for not knowing her.
“I don’t know that I was a great teacher, but in almost everything I did, I tried to encourage others to look for opportunities to be helpful to people and to appreciate our natural world.” —Sue Crissey 2002