Three World Food Prize Winners


Phil Nelson, Gebisa Ejeta, Donya Lester, and Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina

Phil Nelson, Gebisa Ejeta, Donya Lester (Purdue Ag Alumni Director), and Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina

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.

For these men, “what we make moves the world forward” isn’t just a slogan. It’s a way of life.

It’s the Purdue way.


 — by Hannah Tucker (Purdue ’18)


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