Former UF President And Florida University System Head Endows Lecture Series

Valerie Breunig, (608) 273-8090 ext. 315

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — E.T. York, former chancellor of Florida’s State University System and the creator of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and his wife Vam have endowed a lecture series for the American Society of Agronomy (ASA).

“I think this will provide an opportunity for agronomy professionals to hear a message from globally prominent people in agriculture,” York said. “These lectures will highlight new directions in agricultural sciences and provide an interesting, challenging message to faculty and graduate students.”

Valerie Breunig, the director of development for the Agronomic Science Foundation, which is the philanthropic arm for the ASA, said the gift is the largest the organization has ever received.

“The potential for this is very exciting – the E. T. and Vam York Distinguished ASA Lectureship enables us to expose leading scientists to something that’s outside of their strict disciplines,” she said. “The lectures aren’t limited to any area, but I think we’ll see a lot of topics related to international agriculture. Overall it allows us to be flexible and cover any topic that’s important to agronomy as a whole.”

The lectures are presented at annual plenary meetings held jointly by the ASA, the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). Breunig said the societies are separate, but share administration and many members. Members from all three societies will be able to attend the lectures.

“Between 4,000 and 5,000 people attend the annual meeting, and they’re the top scientists in their areas,” Breunig said. “If you’re a cutting-edge researcher, this is where you come to present your paper.”

Breunig said the first lecture in the series was held Nov. 10 and featured former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Trade Ambassador Clayton Yeutter, who stressed links between agricultural science, the world economy and the global food supply.

“The first York series lecture was the most-attended session at this year’s annual meeting,” she said.

York, who is a fellow of the ASA, CSSA and SSSA, received his PhD in agronomy from Cornell University in 1949 and was chairman of the agronomy department at North Carolina State University from 1953 to 1956. He said though he has taken on mostly administrative duties since then, he still feels a kinship for the study and practice of agronomy.

“This was an effort on the part of Vam and me to do something for our professional society,” he said. “I haven’t had time to devote a lot of attention to agronomy, but in recent years I’m still as active there as I can be.”

As UF’s provost for agriculture, York brought together the College of Agriculture, the Cooperative Extension Service and the State Agricultural Experiment Stations under a single administrative umbrella to create the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in 1964. York was president of UF from 1973 to 1974 and chancellor of Florida’s university system from 1975 to 1980. Since 1980 he has dedicated himself to activities related to the problems of world hunger and malnutrition.



Posted: December 5, 2002

Category: UF/IFAS

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