gebisa ejeta and president biden shaking hands

Lifting the fortunes of farmers

Gebisa Ejeta, distinguished professor of plant breeding and genetics and international agriculture, executive director of the Purdue Center for Global Food Security, and Purdue Presidential Fellow for Food Security and Sustainable Global Development, received the National Medal of Science from President Biden in October 2023.

According to the White House, Ejeta received the highest recognition the nation bestows on scientists for outstanding contributions to plant genetics. By developing sorghum strains that withstand drought and parasites, he has improved food security for millions. His advocacy for science, policy and institutions as key to economic development “has lifted the fortunes of farmers and strengthens the souls of nations.”

Ejeta, who was born and raised in a small rural community in west-central Ethiopia, was awarded both the World Food Prize and Ethiopia’s highest honor, the National Hero Award in 2009. He holds an MS and PhD in plant breeding and genetics from Purdue, where he has been a College of Agriculture faculty member and researcher since 1984.

Ejeta’s influence appears throughout this international issue. Read more about his mentors at Purdue and how he inspired one alumna to combine her love for science and international work.