Message from President Daniels

June 26, 2017

Dear alumni and friends, 

I am writing to share some very exciting news from your university. 

A few hours ago, the World Food Prize Foundation announced that another Boilermaker, Akinwumi Adesina, will join the ranks of the foundation’s laureates as the winner of the 2017 World Food Prize. 

Established in 1986 and awarded annually, the World Food Prize is considered the Nobel Prize of food and agriculture, one of the highest honors in the agricultural community, recognizing the achievements of those whose work has improved the quality, quantity and availability of food around the world.

Having had the opportunity to meet Dr. Adesina while he was on campus a few years ago and learn more about his incredible career, I can think of no Boilermaker more deserving of this outstanding honor. 

Dr. Adesina earned his master’s degree at Purdue in agricultural economics in 1985 and a PhD in agricultural economics in 1988, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2015. He is recognized by the World Food Prize Foundation for his dedication to improving agriculture in Africa, and especially his work as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2011 to 2015, during which time he implemented bold policy reforms and pursued innovative agricultural investment programs to expand opportunities for the private sector. 

In just four years, he transformed Nigeria’s agriculture sector from one of subsistence farming into a viable business for the country’s farmers, and halted a 40-year pattern of corruption in the country’s fertilizer sector, expanding Nigeria’s food production by 21 million metric tons and dramatically transforming the lives of 14.5 million Nigerian farmers. His work is a powerful demonstration of the difference Boilermakers have made in creating a more secure and consistent food supply for millions of people around the globe. 

Dr. Adesina is the third Boilermaker World Food Prize laureate in the last 10 years, demonstrating Purdue's commitment to helping solve the challenges of world hunger and the World Food Prize Foundation’s ongoing recognition of the exceptional work our faculty and alumni do in turning research discovery into real benefits for the world. 

Dr. Philip Nelson, professor emeritus at Purdue University, was awarded the 2007 World Food Prize for developing aseptic bulk storage and distribution, a technology for transporting processed fruits and vegetables without product spoilage, which today can be found in almost every country in the world.

Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, Distinguished Professor of Agronomy and one of Dr. Adesina’s biggest mentors, was selected as a World Food Prize laureate in 2009 for his research leading to the increased production and availability of sorghum in his native Africa, a major food crop for more than 500 million people in Africa. 

I know you all join me in my excitement that another Boilermaker is being recognized on the world’s stage for his tremendous efforts in feeding a growing global population, an acknowledgement that reflects brightly on everything our people accomplish each day. 

I invite you to read more about Dr. Adesina and his work to improve the lives of African farmers here and to read the World Food Prize Foundation’s full announcement here


Mitch Daniels 

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

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