Agriculture News

March 25, 2024

Ejeta to receive Purdue University’s highest award from President Chiang

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Last October, 2009 World Food Prize winner Gebisa Ejeta received the highest scientific honor awarded in the United States: the National Medal of Science. On April 1 he will receive Purdue’s highest honor at an event that will also focus on Ejeta’s research and his commitment to end hunger in Africa.

Purdue President Mung Chiang will open the program “Transforming African Food Systems in the 21st Century” at 3 p.m. by presenting Ejeta, a Presidential Fellow for Food Security and Sustainable Global Development and Distinguished Professor of Agronomy, the Order of the Griffin. The Order of the Griffin recognizes outstanding service to Purdue by men and women whose commitment has gone beyond the call of duty and greatly benefited the university.

“Gebisa Ejeta personifies excellence at scale not only on our campus at Purdue University but around the world,” Chiang said. “His story is one of perseverance and resilience — a role model for all Boilermakers. He came to America from a small rural community in west-central Ethiopia to study at Purdue, earning his master’s degree and PhD in plant breeding and genetics. Joining our faculty in the College of Agriculture, he became a pioneering researcher in food security, a World Food Prize and National Medal of Science recipient as one of the world’s most impactful geneticists. He is emblematic of what the Order of the Griffin signifies, and I am delighted to present him with our university’s highest honor.”

Following the presentation, two speakers selected by Ejeta will address the gathering: William Masters, professor of food economics and policy at Tufts University, and Jocelyn Brown Hall, director, Liaison Office for North American Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Ejeta’s closing remarks, “Chronology and Highlights of an Uncommon Academic Career,” will be followed by a reception. 

“Gebisa Ejeta has made extraordinary contributions to our college, university, country and world as a plant geneticist, educator and advocate dedicated to addressing issues impacting global food security,” said Bernie Engel, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. “He has both lived and supported the land-grant mission throughout his career. We are honored to gather for this special event to recognize him as well as to continue the critical discussions surrounding hunger on the African continent.

The 3 p.m. event and following reception, which starts at 5 p.m., will take place in Stewart Center, Room 218. Both are open to the public.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a public research institution demonstrating excellence at scale. Ranked among top 10 public universities and with two colleges in the top four in the United States, Purdue discovers and disseminates knowledge with a quality and at a scale second to none. More than 105,000 students study at Purdue across modalities and locations, including nearly 50,000 in person on the West Lafayette campus. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue’s main campus has frozen tuition 13 years in a row. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap — including its first comprehensive urban campus in Indianapolis, the new Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Computes — at

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