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What is the York Distinguished Lecturer Series?

The York Distinguished Lecturer Series was established in 1984 through SHARE by an endowment from Dr. and Mrs. E. T. York, Jr. Each year, at least one recognized leader is nominated by faculty and invited to campus. The lecturers are individuals who have achieved outstanding international distinction in agriculture or a related discipline. The scholar is encouraged to spend a number of days on the University of Florida campus participating with faculty and students in lectures, workshops, and seminars. The lecturer also has the opportunity to establish a continuing relationship with the University as a visiting professor. The establishment of the series is in recognition of the proud contribution this university has made toward the betterment of mankind.

Dr. Ismahane Elouafi - Future proofing food



Executive Managing Director of CGIAR


Future-Proofing Food

Event Information

Join Us

The Reitz Union, Rion Ballroom
University of Florida
655 Reitz Union Drive
Gainesville, FL 32603

  • The lecture is free and open to the public.


Event Contact

Chris MoranSpecial Assistant to the Senior Vice PresidentUF/IFAS Office of the Senior Vice

Lecture Archive


Revolutionary Research for a Growing World
Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics and ­Chief Scientist, United States Department of Agriculture


Shaping the Future of Sustainable Agriculture
Erik Fyrwald, CEO of Syngenta Group


Understanding and Improving Crop Responses to Global Atmospheric Change
Dr. Lisa Kinsworth


Saving Plants, Saving Ourselves
Peter H. Raven, an engaging speaker with a vision for the future based on care for the living world, headed the internationally-acclaimed Missouri Botanical Garden for nearly 40 years. In 2001, he was awarded the National Medal of Science, highest honor for an American scientist, and last fall the Shenzhen Award in Plant Sciences at the International Congress of Botany, top award at the Congress. Come for an exciting talk!


Why We Should Trust Science (Most of the Time): Perspectives from the History and Philosophy of Science
Dr. Naomi Oreskes is one of the world’s leading historians of science. Dr. Oreskes is a Harvard University Professor of the History of Science. Her research focuses on consensus and dissent in science. She has won numerous prizes for her work, and has lectured widely in diverse venues ranging from the Madison, Wisconsin, Civics Club to the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.


GMO Technology: What do the Facts Say?
Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam is a Cooperative Extension Specialist in the field of Animal Genomics and Biotechnology in the Department of Animal Science at University of California, Davis. She received a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from the University of Melbourne in Australia, and both an MS in Animal Science, and a PhD in Genetics from UC Davis. The mission of her extension program is “to provide research and education on the use of animal genomics and biotechnology in livestock production systems”.


The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines
Dr. Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University and author of “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars,” talked about the story behind the Hockey Stick, using it as a vehicle for exploring broader issues regarding the role of skepticism in science, the uneasy relationship between science and politics, and the dangers that arise when special interests attempt to skew the discourse over policy-relevant areas of science.


What Would E.T. York Do?: How will land-grant institutions navigate the next 150 years?
Senator Bob Graham is the former two–term governor of Florida and served for 18 years in the United States Senate. This is combined with 12 years in the Florida legislature for a total of 38 years of public service. As Governor and Senator, Bob Graham was a centrist, committed to bringing his colleagues together behind programs that served the broadest public interest. He was recognized by the people of Florida when he received an 83% approval ranking as he concluded eight years as Governor. Bob Graham retired from public service in January 2005, following his Presidential campaign in 2004.


The New Global Food Security Agenda: It Will Test Our Will!
Dr. Ejeta is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the Crop Science Society of America, and a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy. Among his many awards, Gebisa Ejeta was the recipient of the 2009 World Food Prize; and a national medal of honor from the President of Ethiopia.


Green-Lighting the 21st Century Land Grant Mission
Congressman representing Florida’s 12th District since 2001. Has led improvements in diverse areas including agriculture, children, small business and social security. Holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from IFAS’ Department of Food and Resource Economics.

No Recording Available


Fall 2008 York Lecturer: Lonnie Ingram 

Distinguished Professor, UF/IFAS Microbiology and Cell Science Department, University of Florida; Director, Florida Center for Renewable Chemicals and Fuels at the University of Florida

September 30, 2008

“Cellulosic Ethanol — Ethanol from the Inedible Portion of Plants ”

Spring 2008 York Lecturer: Per Pinstrup-Andersen
H. E. Babcock Professor of Food, Nutrition and Public Policy, J. Thomas Clark Professor of Entrepreneurship,
Professor of Applied Economics at Cornell University; &
Professor of Development Economics at the University of Copenhagen

February 26, 2008

“Research and Policy Priorities for the Global Food System”


Fall 2007 York Lecturer: Fuller W. Bazer
Associate Vice President for Research, Regents Fellow, Distinguished Professor, and O.D. Butler Chair, Texas A&M Department of Animal Science

October 4, 2007

“Animal Sciences in the Era of Systems Biology”

Spring 2007

Spring 2007 York Lecturer: M. Peter McPherson
President, National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges

May 11, 2007

“Future of Africa and the Role of Land-Grant Universities in Developing Countries”


Spring 2006 York Lecturer: Dr. David B. Allison
University of Alabama at Birmingham Professor of Biostatistics, Head of the Statistical Genetics Section, and Director of the NIH-Funded Clinical Nutrition Research Center

February 22, 2006

“Environmental Interactions with Genetics that Influence Obesity”


Spring 2005 York Lecturer: Dr. Chelston W.D. Brathwaite
Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)

March 30, 2005

“Agriculture and Rural Life in the Americas in the 21st Century”


Spring 2004 York Lecturer: Patrick R. Smith
Nobel-Prize and Pulitzer-Prize Nominated Florida History Author

March 18, 2004

“Florida…A Land Remembered”


Fall 2003 York Lecturer: Dr. Pedro A. Sanchez
Director of Tropical Agriculture and Senior Research Scholar at the Earth Institute of Columbia University
2002 World Food Prize Laureate

November 13, 2003

“Ending Hunger in Africa: What Needs to be Done”


Fall 2001 York Lecturer: Dr. Vernon W. Ruttan
Regents Professor in the Department of Economics and Applied Economics University of Minnesota

“Constraints on Growth in Agricultural Production”

Spring 2001

Spring 2001 York Lecturer: Dr. Monkombu S. Swaminathan
UNESCO-Cousteau Professor in Ecotechnology and Chairman, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation

March 12, 2001

“Agriculture and Natural Resources: A Vision of the 21st Century”


Year 2000 York Lecturer: Dr. Donald L. Plucknett
President and Principal Scientist, Agricultural Research and Development International

March 23, 2000

Agricultural Research at 2000: Can the Remarkable Agricultural Transformation Achieved in the 20th Century Continue?


Summer 1998 York Lecturer: Dr. Robert Costanza
Director, Institute for Ecological Economics, University of Maryland

June 8, 1998

“Ecological Economics and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services”

Spring 1998

Spring 1998 York Lecturer: Dr. Hans Rudolf Herren

Chief Executive and Director General of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Kenya

February 24, 1998

“Insect Sciences for Sustainable Development: A Revisited Agenda”

Spring 1996

Spring 1996 York Lecturer: Dr. David O. Hall
Professor of Biology, King’s College, University of London

March 5, 1996

“Biomass Energy: Clean Technology for Environment and Development”

Spring 1995

Spring 1995 York Lecturer: Dr. Daniel Hillel
Professor of Soil Physics and Hydrology, University of Massachusetts

March 28, 1995

“The Struggle for Water and the Quest for Peace in the Middle East”

Fall 1994

Fall 1994 York Lecturer: Dr. E.T. York
Chancellor Emeritus of Florida’s State University System and Distinguished Service Professor, University of Florida

November 29, 1994

“Problems of Global Hunger and Malnutrition–Was Malthus Right After All?”

Spring 1991

Spring 1991 York Lecturer: Dr. John L. Monteith
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT),
Hyderabad, India

April 3, 1991

“Food in a Changing World”

Fall 1989

Second Fall 1989 York Lecturer: Dr. William H. Patrick, Jr.
Boyd Professor of Marine Sciences Laboratory for Wetland Soils and Sediments, Louisiana State University

November 15, 1989

“From Wastelands to Wetlands”

Fall 1989

Fall 1989 York Lecturer: Dr. Nevin S. Scrimshaw
Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

October 19, 1989

“Individual, Social and Political Malnutrition”

Fall 1987

Fall 1987 York Lecturer: Dr. Robert L. Metcalf
Professor of Entomology, University of Illinois

September 22, 1987

“Benefit Risk Considerations in the Use of Pesticides”

Spring 1987

Spring 1987 York Lecturer: Dr. A. Carl Leopold
Distinguished Scientist, Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research

March 10, 1987

“Life in the Dry State: The Physiology of Seeds”

Fall 1986

Fall 1986 York Lecturer: Dr. Laurence R. Jahn
Vice President, The Wildlife Management Institute

November 5, 1986

“Integrated Natural Resources Management: Why?”


Spring 1986 York Lecturer: Dr. Luther G. Tweeten
Regents Professor of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University

March 11, 1986

“Sector as Personality: The Case of Farm Protest Movements”


Inaugural York Lecturer: Dr. Norman E. Borlaug
Senior Scientist Emeritus, Rockefeller Foundation
1970 Nobel Laureate

September 11, 1985

“World Hunger: What to Do?”


Dr. and Mrs. E. T. York

Dr. E. T. York’s life exemplified the land-grant philosophy of using knowledge for the betterment of mankind. He devoted a lifetime of service to the land-grant university system and to

working as an advocate for the use of international agricultural development as a weapon against world hunger and malnutrition.

Fittingly, his career parallels the critical growing years of the land-grant institution—from its youth as life support for the nation’s agricultural producers into maturity as a complex, multifaceted university.

The Alabama native received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Auburn University. He was awarded a doctorate in 1949 from Cornell University, where he studied under the tutelage of the internationally renowned soil scientist, Dr. Richard Bradfield.

While at Auburn, he married Vermelle “Vam” Cardwell of Evergreen, Alabama. Mrs. York was a leader in women’s student government at Auburn. Mrs. York retired as a successful businesswoman and real estate developer.

From 1949 to 1956, Dr. York served at North Carolina State University, first as professor and then as chairman of the Department of Agronomy. He directed Alabama’s Extension Service from 1959 to 1961 and was Administrator of the Federal Extension Service from 1961 to 1963.

York applied the land-grant institution’s philosophy of knowledge for public benefit to a lifelong advocacy for international agricultural development. In that role, he led several presidential missions and served on many national and international bodies concerned with agricultural development and world hunger.

“A world filled with hungry, sick, and poverty-ridden people is likely to be an unstable world. The United States has a vital stake in the outcome of the war on hunger,” York said in a 1983 speech.

Dr. York was a former chairman of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) of the Agency for International Development. The board is concerned with strengthening and mobilizing the resources of U.S. universities to help Third World nations improve their agricultural sectors through effective research and educational institutions. He also chaired the Board of the International Fertilizer Development Center, with programs around the world.

As provost of agriculture and vice president for agricultural, natural, and human resources at the University of Florida from 1963 to 1973, York effected major, far-reaching changes. In an effort to more clearly reflect the land-grant university’s unique, tripartite mission of teaching, research, and extension, York brought together the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the Florida Cooperative Extension Service, and the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station under the single administrative umbrella of the present Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).

He established the Center for Tropical Agriculture, which extended the institute’s international influence. He initiated DARE (Developing Agricultural Resources Effectively), a long-range planning effort. Dr. York also founded SHARE (Special Help for Agricultural Research and Education), a UF Foundation program that raises private funds for agriculture. Over the years, SHARE has generated nearly $250 million through gifts of cash and other assets from thousands of donors.

After a period as executive vice president and interim president of UF, he served as chancellor of the State University System of Florida from 1975 to 1980. After 1980, he dedicated himself full-time to a wide range of activities related to the problems of world hunger and malnutrition.

Well-known for his community service, York received the Rotary International’s “Service Above Self Award,” the highest honor bestowed on Rotary Club members. Fewer than one one-hundredth of one percent (0.01%) of Rotarians worldwide are recognized with this award.

ET York Photo

York authored of more than 100 technical papers and books, and he lectured at more than 40 universities throughout the U.S. and around the world. He was appointed to prominent advisory positions by Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan, by various foreign governments, and by a number of U.S. government agencies. Among his many honors, York received honorary degrees from UF, Auburn, Ohio State, and North Carolina State, and is a member of the Alabama Agricultural Hall of Honor and the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame.

In 1997, York was named a Great Floridian by the Florida Museum of History in recognition of his notable contributions in shaping the state of Florida as we know it today. It was a great loss to the global agricultural community when Dr. York passed away on Friday April 15, 2011 at his home in Gainesville, Florida.