snyder event

James C. Snyder Memorial Lecture

Friday, April 21, 2023 at 1:30pm EDT
Pfendler Hall, Dean's Auditorium (Room # 241)

Guest Lecturer: Dr. JAY AKRIDGE

Snyder Lecturer to focus on role of land-grant universities in shaping the future of higher education

Jay T. Akridge
, Trustee Chair in Teaching and Learning Excellence, Professor of Agricultural Economics, and former Purdue University Provost, will be the guest speaker at 48th annual James C. Snyder Memorial Lecture.

The lecture is scheduled for April 21 at 1:30 p.m. in the David C. Pfendler Hall of Agriculture, Dean’s Auditorium (Room 241), 715 W. State St.

“Calls for change are nothing new to higher education,” said Akridge. “However, from the coming decline in the number of traditional college-age students and other demographic shifts, to rapid developments in learning technologies and new providers, to public uncertainty about value and commensurate funding challenges, colleges and universities currently face a set of existential questions about their future.”

Akridge’s lecture, “Shaping the future of higher education? – Becoming a land-grant university for our times,” will outline some of the most important factors facing higher education and focus on how a land-grant university can position for relevance and societal impact.

The event is free and open to the public. For additional information about the speaker and schedule of events, please clicking on the drop down menus below. For questions related to the event, please Tracy Buck at, 765-494-4191.


Schedule of Events


8:15am - 9:15 am, Krannert Room 661

Graduate Student Poster Competition and Judging


9:30am - 11:00am, Krannert Room 758

Department Awards and Panel Discussion with APEX Award winners


11:30am - 1:00 pm

Invited lunch with APEX Award winners


1:30pm - 3:15pm, Pfendler Hall, Dean's Auditorium, Room 241

Introduction of Jay T. Akridge, Trustee Chair in Teaching and Learning Excellence, Professor of Agricultural Economics,

Dr. Akridge's presentation: “Shaping the future of higher education? – Becoming a land-grant university for our times.”

Description of the presentation: While calls for change are nothing new to higher education, from the coming decline in the number of traditional college-age students and other demographic shifts, to rapid developments in learning technologies and new providers, to public uncertainty about value and commensurate funding challenges, colleges and universities currently face a set of existential questions about the future. Can higher education maintain relevance in the coming decades? How can colleges and universities re-position to create value given the radically different operating environment that is emerging? The land-grant university was created in response to a set of national needs in learning, discovery, and engagement – relevance was woven into the design. What does the land-grant ideal mean today and what role can land-grant universities play in shaping the future of higher education? What are the implications for a Department of Agricultural Economics and specifically its learning mission? The Snyder Lecture will outline some of the most important factors facing higher education and will then focus on how a land-grant university can position for relevance and societal impact. Specific thoughts for a Department of Agricultural Economics looking to lead the profession will be shared.


3:30pm - 5:00pm, Pfendler Hall

Department Reception



Jay Akridge is the Trustee Chair in Teaching and Learning Excellence and Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University. He served from 2017-2022 as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity at Purdue. As Chief Academic Officer, he led the office responsible for the University’s overall academic strategy, faculty-related matters, teaching and learning, student life, enrollment management, engagement, and diversity, inclusion, and belonging, with a total budget of approximately $2 billion, student enrollment of more than 50,000, 2,700 faculty members, and 8,000 staff.

Jay previously served for 8+ years as the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture where he had administrative responsibility for the academic, research, Extension, and international programs of the College. He served as Director of the Purdue Center for Food and Agricultural Business from 2000-2007, as Interim Vice Provost for Engagement at Purdue in 2007-08, and as Interim Dean of Agriculture in 2008-09.

He has held a variety of leadership positions with the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (including Chair of the Policy Board of Directors for the Board on Agriculture Assembly), the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, and regional research committees. Jay served as Chair of the Executive Steering Committee for AgriNovus Indiana and on the Board of Directors of Agriculture Future of America. He is a member of the Farm Foundation Round Table where he has held a number of leadership roles.

Jay is the recipient of the Charles Murphy Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching (1996) and is listed in Purdue’s Book of Great Teachers (2003). Jay was named a University Faculty Scholar in 2000 and was the James and Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue before moving into administration. His research focuses on strategic management of food and agribusiness firms and adoption of new technology by agribusiness. Jay has worked with agribusiness managers in the areas of strategy and marketing in more than 20 countries. He received his master’s degree and doctorate in agricultural economics from Purdue University and his bachelor’s degree from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky.


Gustavo received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomist Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Productivity and International Trade from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Superior Studies in Mexico. In addition, he earned a Master of Science degree from the department of Agricultural Economics from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

After graduating from Purdue University, Gustavo worked for GRUMA managing the Corn Operations. He then worked for Mead Johnson Nutrition procuring raw materials for North America.

In 2011, Gustavo joined Abbott Laboratories, where he currently serves the position of Director of Global Procurement and leads two different global groups. One group sources dairy ingredients worldwide and the second manages global ingredient qualifications for Abbott nutritional products.

Gustavo also is currently the co-chairs of the Ingredient Board, and it is a member of the Executive Board of International Dairy Foods Association.

Gustavo currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and three daughters.

mesbah motamedMESBAH MOTAMED

Mesbah Motamed has worked on issues of agriculture and economic development, both in research and applied settings, over the past 15 years. Currently at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), he helps develop and design high-return public investments geared towards stimulating economic growth and reducing poverty, focusing primarily in Africa. Prior to MCC, he worked at the USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) where he researched and published on issues of agricultural policy, risk management, land use and trade. While at ERS, his work appeared in a variety of outlets, including leading peer-reviewed journals, formal government reports and public-facing outreach. Mesbah also teaches courses at George Washington University's graduate program in Sustainable Urban Planning and serves on the board of directors for Culpepper Garden, an Arlington, Virginia-based non-profit organization dedicated to affordable housing for seniors. Mesbah received a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University in 2009 and a B.A. in Humanities from the University of Texas at Austin.


Christina is a corn and soybean producer located in Eastern Tippecanoe County, Indiana. Operating as a Managing Member for RCJ Farms LLC, she grows crops in Tippecanoe, Carroll, Clinton, and White counties.

In May of 1998, Christina earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Plant Science from the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology in the Purdue School of Agriculture. She continued on at Purdue, completing a Master of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics in December of 2000, receiving an Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award for Professional Excellence from the American Agricultural Economics Association, working with her advisor Dr. Marshall Martin.

Since completing her studies at Purdue, Christina has helped transition her family farm to focus solely on grain production, phasing out a Farrow to Finish Hog Operation. She also facilitated a structural reorganization of grain and equipment facilities to lay the groundwork for future farm expansion and generational transition. Christina is passionate about her local community and preserving both Farmland and Nature acreage. She was on the Board of Directors at a local community bank, The Farmers State Bank, for approximately 10 years, helping local businesses and residents obtain banking services close to home. Additionally, Christina is a member of the Tippecanoe County Park and Recreation Foundation Board, serving as a bridge between agricultural interests in the community and a need for preservation, acquisition, and improvements of Natural areas in the community. The Foundation works in conjunction with The Tippecanoe County Park Board.

It is Christina’s goal to help foster a sense of community between local residents and farmers, helping each group to mutually benefit the other, preserving and respecting Indiana’s Heritage while helping to feed the world through Modern Agriculture.



History of the Lecture

The James C. Snyder Memorial Lecture is the Department of Agricultural Economics’ signature event at Purdue University. The lectures were established in February 1975 as an appropriate memorial to a distinguished member of the faculty. Funds are contributed by friends and corporations who wish to encourage the continuation of Jim Snyder’s professional efforts during his brief but brilliant career. As a highlight, a top professional in agricultural business and economics, or related areas, is brought to the campus to give a lecture and interact with staff and students. The Memorial Lecture, of general interest to all Department professional staff and students, is the high point of the visit. The lecture is open to the public with selected professionals invited as special guests.​


    • Stimulate the intellectual environment of the Department for more creative research, teaching, Extension, and international activities.
    • Recognize the professional contributions of Professor James Snyder in pioneering undergraduate curriculum in agricultural business management, and in the development and application of quantitative techniques for agribusiness research and training of graduates
    • Contribute to the Department’s efforts to enhance and motivate excellence in all of its mission areas by bringing to the Purdue campus individuals who can offer unique contributions
    • Broaden the perspective of students by exposing them to outstanding professionals from other institutions, and close interaction both within structured situations and informal settings.
    • Assist the faculty on specific assignments.


Previous Snyder Lecturers​ 

    • Jay T. Akridge, 2023 - working paper from Akridge's lecture
    • John List, 2022
    • Joe Balagtas, Ted McKinney, Matt Erickson, and Rob Johansson, 2021 - recording
    • Beth Ford, 2020 - recording
    • Jayson Lusk, 2019
    • Keith Coble, 2018
    • ​Daniel A. Sumner, 2017
    • Robert L. Thompson, 2016
    • Helen Jensen, 2015
    • J.B. Penn, 2014
    • Robert B. Zoellich, 2013
    • Rob Paarlberg, 2012
    • Thomas Hoenig, 2011
    • Ian Sheldon, 2010
    • Brian Wright, 2009
    • Scott Irwin, 2008
    • Jason Shogren 2007
    • Zoltan Acs, 2006
    • David Downey, 2005
    • Douglas Hedley, 2004
    • Susan Offutt, 2003
    • Victor Davis Hanson, 2002


About James C. Snyder


This lecture series is dedicated to the memory and legacy of Dr. James C. Snyder, a Purdue Agricultural Economics graduate (M.S., 1956; Ph.D. 1962) and member of the faculty until his passing in 1974 at the age of 44 – much, much too soon.  Although his time with us was brief, James' brilliant career exemplified the very best of a land-grant faculty member.

Professor Snyder was a gifted researcher and his talent was recognized early on when he became the first Purdue student to receive the Ph.D. thesis award from the American Farm Economic Association (now Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).1 He is primarily known for his work bringing sophisticated tools of quantitative analysis, especially operations research techniques, to the managerial problems of food and agribusiness firms. This work was wide-ranging and included applications from feed manufacturing (least cost formulation and inventory management) to ice cream and sausage production (cost and quality production control). 

In a 1958 review paper published in Operations Research, Snyder and his co-authors were prescient in their discussion of the growing size and complexity of management problems in rapidly expanding food and agribusiness firms and the equally dramatic expansion of data available to help solve such problems – perhaps even foreshadowing uses of artificial intelligence.2  These many contributions in the application of computing to address management problems led Purdue to name one of its high-performance computing clusters ‘Snyder’ in 2015 (the cluster was retired in 2021).

His work was not limited to research applications of quantitative tools and he had a robust Extension program.  Professor Snyder’s applied research and Extension publications encompassed such topics as cost analysis for small commercial banks, surveys on seed corn marketing practices, and in one extension publication, an important problem of food retailers at the time: what to do with empty bottles.3  Another dimension of his industry engagement was the consulting firm, Snyder Associates, that he owned and operated.  While deep relationships with industry were a hallmark of his research and Extension activities, Professor Snyder also made disciplinary and methodological contributions to the field with multiple Journal of Farm Economics/American Journal of Agricultural Economics articles and a contribution to Econometrica in 1970: “A Decomposition Algorithm for Solving the Multi-Facility Production Transportation Problem with Non-Linear Production Costs”.4  

Professor Snyder was widely recognized for his exceptional teaching at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.  At the graduate level, under his personalized and rigorous mentorship, students revered him, excelled, and took leading positions in business, education, and government.1  He was recognized as ‘teacher of the year’ for his outstanding undergraduate instruction in business management1 and was deeply involved in developing the undergraduate curriculum in agribusiness management.  In a 1969 proceedings paper published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, “Trials, Errors, and Successes in Agribusiness Education at Purdue”, he defined the Department’s overall goals for an undergraduate curriculum in agribusiness:5 

  • A broad and liberal education in the social and natural sciences.
  • Adequate professional emphasis to enhance student placement and performance with business firms upon graduation.
  • Adequate academic emphasis to provide the foundation for graduate work in business management and/or economics.
  • Adequate agribusiness emphasis to provide the student with special insights into the unique problems of agribusiness without becoming involved in specific trade practices and problems of any one activity.

One can easily argue these four goals should be the foundation for a curriculum in food and agribusiness management today.

Professor Snyder was an accomplished researcher, deeply involved with industry, a master teacher, and someone who fully leveraged his engagement in all three land-grant mission areas. He will always be remembered as a brilliant colleague whose work, standards and style are an inspiration to those following in his footsteps at Purdue University. We hope to encourage the legacy of farming, the importance of research and emerging technologies, as well as the networking of ideas and strategies with future James C. Snyder Memorial Lectures.


  1. Snyder Biography: J.C. Snyder, snyder-james-c.pdf (
  2. French, C.E., M.M. Snodgrass, and J.C. Snyder. Application of Operations Research in Farm Operations and Agricultural Marketing. Operations Research, Vol. 6, No.5 (Sep-Oct 1958) pp. 766-77.
  3. Baker, G.L and J.C. Snyder, Bottle Returns. Mimeo EC, no. 187 (Aug. 1959) - Extension Mimeo EC (Purdue University. Agricultural Extension Service) - Purdue e-Archives.
  4. Sharp, J. F.; Snyder, J.C.; and J.H. Greene. Econometrica, 1970, Vol.38 (3), p.490-506, A Decomposition Algorithm for Solving the Multifacility Production-Transportation Problem with Nonlinear Production Costs.
  5. Snyder, J.C. Trials, Errors, and Successes in Agribusiness Education at Purdue. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol.51, No. 5 (Dec. 1969), pp 1218-1221.