sealPurdue News

July 1999

Butz donates $1 million to Purdue ag econ department

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Earl Butz, former secretary of agriculture and dean emeritus of Purdue University, will donate $1 million to Purdue's Department of Agricultural Economics at 4 p.m. today (Monday, 5/10) in the Krannert Drawing Room.

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The money is intended to allow the department to pursue some internal priorities, such as supporting the Center for Agricultural Business or financing assistanceships to attract the best and brightest graduate students, said Wally Tyner, department head.

"When Earl was department head, he brought us to national prominence," Tyner said. "With this gift today, he helps us sustain that legacy."

Butz received Purdue's first doctorate in agricultural economics in 1937, and he joined its faculty that year as an instructor. He taught courses in agricultural policy, farm business and accounting, agricultural statistics, agricultural prices, farm finance, and farm management. Butz was named head of the Department of Agricultural Economics in 1946.

From 1954 to 1957 he was granted a special leave of absence to serve as assistant secretary of agriculture in the Eisenhower administration. He was responsible for the administration of the marketing and foreign agricultural aid programs of the Department of Agriculture.

He returned to Purdue in 1957 as dean of agriculture, a post he held until his resignation on December 31, 1967. In January 1968, Professor Butz became the dean of continuing education and vice president of the Purdue Research Foundation. He served in this capacity until 1971 when he joined the Nixon administration as secretary of agriculture. Butz was secretary of agriculture, 1971-1976, under Presidents Nixon and Ford.

He retired from Purdue in 1972 and still serves as dean emeritus of the School of Agricultural and as professor emeritus in the Department of Agricultural Economics. In 1973 he received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Purdue. Butz has worked as a public lecturer and consultant since 1976. He maintains an office in the department and works there daily when he is in the city.

Source: Wallace Tyner, (765) 494-4191

Writer: Chris Sigurdson, (765) 494-8415;

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail,


Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, left, shakes hands with former agriculture secretary and Purdue alumus Earl Butz. Glickman was on the Purdue campus April 29 to present a public policy speech.
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