Solona C. McDonald, RD, was a trailblazer within the nutrition and dietetics profession, a leader in the Academy’s National Organization of Blacks in Dietetics and Nutrition member interest group and a mentor to many Black registered dietitian nutritionists. Born in Decatur, Ill., she graduated from Tuskegee University in 1940. In 1942, she was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army, serving as a dietitian for the Veterans Administration in Oteen, N.C. During this time, she completed her master’s degree in institution management and public health nutrition at Columbia College in South Carolina.
McDonald returned to Tuskegee University and served as an associate professor and director of dietetics at John A. Andrew Community Hospital at Tuskegee Institute. She created such projects as the Dietary Responsibilities Program that operated from 1954 through 1982, beginning as a two-day workshop for foodservice workers and directors in nursing homes in Alabama and Georgia. In later years, it was expanded under a federal grant to a five-day workshop. Implementation and evaluation of the workshop involved dietetic interns and it became a major part of the internship curriculum. Under McDonald’s leadership, the Tuskegee Dietetic Internship excelled. Upon her retirement in 1982, she remained active with the university, her community and church. In 1983, McDonald was awarded the Academy’s highest honor, the Medallion Award.
The Academy Foundation’s Solona C. McDonald Scholarship Fund was established in 1982 to honor her remarkable achievements. This Fund provides an annual scholarship to support an African American student at traditionally Black institutions. In 2020, our Foundation awarded the McDonald scholarship to Jordan Harris, whose lifelong career aspirations include establishing his own scholarship fund to give back to those who need it the most.