Texas A&M System leaders who worked with Dr. Norman Borlaug paid homage to the Nobel Peace Prize laureate during this season of thanksgiving, pledging to continue his fight against world hunger through university institutions and efforts.
Borlaug, who also received the Congressional Gold Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom for his lifelong work of bringing greater worldwide food security, was a distinguished professor of international agriculture at Texas A&M’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences from 1984 until his death on Sept. 12 at age 95.
One of the recent university tributes to Borlaug was his commemoration at the Texas A&M-Baylor football game held Nov. 21 at Kyle Field in College Station and attended by more than 80,000 people.
“Among family, friends and colleagues at Texas A&M, Borlaug was as well known for his love of Aggie athletics, especially football, as for his humanitarian efforts,” said Dr. Mark Hussey, vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences. “It’s appropriate that we honor and remember him near Thanksgiving – a holiday so closely associated with food and family – because his work of feeding those less fortunate could not have been accomplished without the support of his wife, Margaret, and the other members of his family.”
Prior to the game, Borlaug’s granddaughter Julie Borlaug Larson gave a live interview about her grandfather and his legacy during a WTAW radio broadcast from the Texas A&M campus. Borlaug also was remembered in a memorial video played on Kyle Field's electronic scoreboard, as well as by a tribute in the game-day program.
“My grandfather would have loved this,” Larson said. “He admired the spirit of Texas A&M as an institution and the pride and commitment displayed by its students, faculty and staff. This was such a fitting tribute.”
Hussey, Larson and her mother, Jeanie Borlaug Laube, joined Lawrence Kent, interim deputy director for the Agricultural Development initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on the field to thank the foundation for its recent $1 million contribution to the Borlaug International Scholars fund.
The foundation’s grant will be used to build productive partnerships between students, scientists and farmers in developing countries and U.S. land-grant universities, Hussey said. The gift was the first major donation to the memorial fund, established through the nonprofit Texas A&M Foundation.
“Dr. Borlaug saved countless lives and gave us a legacy of everlasting inspiration,” said Dr. Ed Smith, director of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, an educational outreach agency of the university system.
Smith and his leadership team commemorated Borlaug in their annual Thanksgiving message, which was issued to AgriLife Extension personnel throughout the state, as well as some 1,400 agency friends and supporters.
“In this time of reflection and thanksgiving, we remember Dr. Norman Borlaug, the father of the green revolution,” the card read, also stating that “Dr. Borlaug personified the land-grant university missions of teaching, research and extension, which are so essential to the quest for food security around the world."
Borlaug’s legacy continues through the university’s Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, which carries on his mission of improving agriculture in poor and developing nations, Hussey noted.
“The institute provides the global outreach for Texas A&M AgriLife,” said Dr. Edwin Price, director of the Borlaug Institute. “We have Texas A&M faculty members, researchers, scientists and students involved in agricultural improvement projects in dozens of countries throughout the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Guatemala and Panama.”
“Through the Borlaug Institute, the Borlaug International Scholars fund and other ongoing efforts, we are committed to continuing Dr. Borlaug’s work and fulfilling his legacy,” Hussey said. “We’re hoping we can do our part to make every day a little more like Thanksgiving by joining in his fight to end world hunger.”
For more information on how to join the fight against world hunger and support the legacy of “the man who fed the world,” go to: http://FeedtheLegacy.tamu.edu.