Philip Nelson, Gebisa Ejeta and Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina embody the innovative spirit of Purdue University. Within a single decade, the three alumni were named laureates of the World Food Prize, otherwise known as the Nobel Prize for food and agriculture.
In 2007, Nelson was the first Purdue alum to earn the award. He developed bulk aseptic food processing, which makes large-scale storage and transportation of fresh produce possible.
Two years later, Ejeta earned the prize for his sorghum hybrids that are resistant to drought and the devastating weed, Striga. This advancement dramatically increased the production and availability of food in sub-Saharan Africa.
Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group, earned the most recent award in 2017 for his work as a reformer and leader of the agricultural sector in Africa.
Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina
Purdue University alumnus Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group, has been named the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate for his work as a reformer and leader of the agricultural sector in Africa. Adesina joins Purdue faculty members Gebisa Ejeta (2009) and Philip Nelson (2007) as the third World Food Prize Laureate from Purdue in the past decade.
Dr. Gebisa Ejeta
The 2009 World Food Prize was awarded to Dr. Gebisa Ejeta of Ethiopia, whose sorghum hybrids resistant to drought and the devastating Striga weed have dramatically increased the production and availability of one of the world’s five principal grains, enhancing the food supply of hundreds of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr. Philip Nelson
Dr. Philip E. Nelson, Professor Emeritus at Purdue University, was awarded the 2007 World Food Prize for his innovative breakthrough technologies which have revolutionized the food industry, particularly in the area of large-scale storage and transportation of fresh fruit and vegetables using bulk aseptic food processing.