Purdue to award 2 honorary doctorates during spring commencement

May 7, 2015  

Akinwumi Adesina

Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University will award two honorary doctorate degrees during spring commencement ceremonies in the West Lafayette campus' Elliott Hall of Music.

Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture, and William "Bill" Dudley Jr., president and CEO of the Bechtel Group, are this year's honorees.

Purdue will conduct five ceremonies May 15-17 in Elliott Hall. Adesina will receive his honorary Doctor of Agriculture degree during the 8 p.m. Friday (May 15) ceremony. Dudley will receive his Doctor of Engineering degree at 2 p.m. Saturday (May 16).

Both Adesina and Dudley are Purdue alumni.

About the honorees:

Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina is Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development for the federal government of Nigeria. After earning his master's and doctorate degrees in agricultural economics from Purdue, Adesina dedicated his career to improving the agricultural sector in Africa. He held positions in agricultural development at various organizations before joining the Rockefeller Foundation in 1998. He was vice president for policy and partnerships at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa from 2007 until he was named to his current position in 2010. He introduced innovative programs that empowered more than six million farmers and shifted Nigerian agriculture toward a more business-oriented industry. He also led financing initiatives to support youth engagement in agriculture as well as small and medium enterprises. Under Adesina's leadership, Nigeria's food production has expanded by 21 million metric tons, and the country has attracted $5.6 billion in private sector investments in agriculture. His application of economic principles and the power of markets to public policy creation has resulted in improved livelihoods for many Nigerian rural households.

William Dudley

William Dudley
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William "Bill" Dudley, who earned his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Purdue and a master's in business administration from the University of Houston, became president and CEO of the Bechtel Group in 2014 after serving six years as the company's president and chief operating officer. He joined Bechtel in 1981 and has held a number of engineering, project management and executive management positions within the company, many of which took him around the world. He has overseen all of the company's business units: Oil, Gas & Chemicals, Infrastructure, Mining and Metals, and Nuclear, Security and Environmental. He has been located in London, where he served as president of Bechtel's Europe, Africa, Middle East, Southwest Asia organization, before which he served as Bechtel's general manager for Southeast Asia, country manager for Thailand, and general manager of Bechtel's pipeline business in Asia.

Writer: Jim Bush, 765-494-2077, jsbush@purdue.edu 

Sources: Christine DeHahn Pass, senior assistant registrar, 765-494-6163, dehahn@purdue.edu

Carla Reeves, executive assistant, Office of the Provost, 765-494-6835, reeves@purdue.edu

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