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Purdue professor first woman selected to present Justin Smith Morrill Lecture

Haley Oliver, associate professor of food science in Purdue University’s College of Agriculture, has been selected to deliver the 2018 Justin Smith Morrill Lecture at this year’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Memorial Lecture Series in November. The lecture honors Justin Smith Morrill, for whom the Morrill Act — which created the land-grant university system — is named. The only previous Purdue recipient was former President Martin Jischke. 

Haley Oliver.
Haley Oliver

Oliver will be the first woman to present the Justin Smith Morrill Lecture. She joined the Purdue faculty in 2010 and works on food safety issues, including the persistence, prevalence, and transmission of foodborne pathogens in retail food systems. She is an award-winning teacher, having received both Purdue’s highest award for undergraduate teaching in 2018 and the USDA New Teacher Award in 2014. This summer Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue appointed her to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods, a panel that provides scientific advice and impartial expertise to federal food safety agencies.

Oliver has chosen “A Millennial’s Perspective on the Land Grant System and its Role in Global Resilience” as the topic for her lecture.

“That term resilience is really important to me as we look at global change and look ahead to overcome challenges,” said Oliver, adding that her own experiences at three land-grant universities — University of Wyoming, Cornell, and Purdue — led her to this topic.

“The Morrill Award recognizes excellence in all areas of the land-grant system,” said Brian Farkas, head of the Department of Food Science. “For Haley, it’s a recognition of her ability across the university in teaching, research, and outreach.”

Oliver was selected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2017 as one of 14 researchers nationwide selected to be a Public Engagement Fellow of the Alan I. Leshner Leadership Institute for Public Engagement with Science. She also currently leads the USAID/Purdue Project to develop the Food Technology Department at Herat University in Afghanistan.

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