MSU and land-grants get international award

MISSISSIPPI STATE ­ Mississippi State University is one of 106 land-grant universities honored by the Borlaug Medallion given by the World Food Prize Foundation.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities received the award during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Land-grant Act of 1862. This legislation awarded federal lands to help states establish public universities.

In a press release, Kenneth M. Quinn, former U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia and president of the World Food Prize Foundation, said, ³Land-grant institutions have played a critical role in inspiring multiple generations to attain the highest levels of education and scientific research; fostering the most prolific era of agricultural production ever recorded in human history; and providing a model for emulation around the world as we endeavor to eliminate the scourge of hunger from the face of the earth.²

The award was announced just as MSU faculty, staff and students converged on Washington, D.C., to participate in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the largest annual tourist event in the nation. The festival included a Campus and Community program, which highlighted the Morrill Act and the accomplishments of the land-grant universities it established.

³We are honored to join our colleagues across the nation as recipients of the Borlaug Medallion,² said MSU President Mark Keenum. ³Dr. Norman Borlaug ­ founder of the World Food Prize, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and the father of the Green Revolution ­ was a land-grant university graduate. We are proud of the contributions land-grant institutions have made to science, agriculture, education and outreach and the impact these contributions have had on the lives of Mississippians and all Americans since the Morrill Act was passed.²

The World Food Prize is considered the leading international award given in recognition of those who have promoted human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food. The Borlaug Medallion is reserved for organizations and world leaders not eligible for the World Food Prize but exceptional in their contributions to improving access to safe and nutritious food across the globe. Since its inception in 2006, the medallion has been awarded to just three other recipients: King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand; the Sasakawa family of Japan and its Nippon Foundation; and former secretary-general of the United Nations Kofi Annan.

³The Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine at MSU continues a long tradition of initiatives that serve the needs of Mississippians of all ages,² said Greg Bohach, vice president of the division. ³Whether through nutrition education programs or investigations into complex food safety and agricultural issues, our scientists and specialists are dedicated to fulfilling the visions of Senator Morrill.²