My Campus: Karen Chapman-Novakofski

October 21, 2020
My Campus: Karen Chapman-Novakofski

My Campus: Karen Chapman-Novakofsk

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Former UI presidents Stan Ikenberry (second from left) and Bob Easter (second from right) pose for a 2010 commencement day group shot with Professor Karen Chapman-Novakofski, graduating daughter Liz and husband Jan Novakofski.


Other than the decade she spent as a VA dietitian nine exits down I-74 in Danville, KAREN CHAPMAN-NOVAKOFSKI has called the UI campus home or reported there for work since arriving as an undergrad in the mid-1970s.

A professor of nutrition, Chapman-Novakofski was selected as the 2020 recipient of the College of ACES’ prestigious Spitze Land-Grand Professorial Career Excellence Award, the latest on a long list of honors that includes the American Society for Nutrition’s Excellence in Nutrition Education Award.

In the second installment of an occasional feature, Chapman-NovakofskiI takes us for a guided, virtual tour of memorable places and spaces on or around the UI campus.

No place like home

I lived in one of three university-managed co-ops for all of my undergrad — Delta House at 905 South Goodwin Ave. in Urbana.

It was all-female, and we had schedules for cooking, shopping, cleaning and being the “safety officer” when we got to ring the internal doorbell for a fire drill.

Hangout as a student

Friday night was for Treno’s in Urbana when I wasn’t working. I worked at Papa Del’s on Sixth Street, Bubbie and Zadie’s on Green Street, Garcia’s Pizza on Lincoln, as a building supervisor for student-run movies in the Auditorium and Lincoln Hall, and at the Champaign County Nursing Home.

I also volunteered as a feeding assistant for the Champaign County Children’s Home at various times during my four years.

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For Karen Chapman-Novakofski, it doesn’t get any better than the Arboretum, where she joined husband Jan Novakofski (left) and son Scot (right) on daughter Liz’s wedding day.


A place without walls

The Arboretum is beautiful in many seasons. Our daughter was married there.

Where I got the job

I interviewed at 260 Bevier Hall with Dr. Sharon Nickols, who was my future department head and is the mother of Dr. Shelly Nickols-Richardson, now the associate dean of UI Extension.

A place to think

Walking around the Quad with a loop around the grad and undergrad libraries.

Entertainment go-to venue

I had a terrific first date at the Krannert Art Museum and have always liked going back.

For a bite to eat

My favorite lunch spot is Timpone’s for their comfort food, Italian beef.

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Professor Karen Chapman-Novakofski (back, center) enjoys lunch in the lab with students.


Where I was when I got my best piece of professional news

I was at a professional meeting — Experimental Biology — when I got the phone call that I was tenured. My husband, (Animal Sciences professor) Jan Novakofski, and I took our students to a French restaurant to celebrate that night.

A familiar classroom

I took classes — undergrad and grad — and taught classes in 328 Bevier Hall.


Section of a library

The Stacks of the main library. You can literally lose yourself there.

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