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K-State Today

April 18, 2014

Earth Week: President, founder of The Land Institute, Wes Jackson, to present distinguished lecture

Submitted by Sam Cook

Dr. Wes Jackson

Wes Jackson, founder and president of The Land Institute in Salina, will present the inaugural Alpha Mu Distinguished Lecture on "A Conceptual Revolution for Grain Agriculture Now Seems Possible: How Will Midwest Land Grants Respond?" at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, in Room 227 of the K-State Student Union. This lecture is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served at 3:10 p.m. 

The Land Institute works to develop solutions to problematic areas of modern agriculture including soil loss and degradation, ecosystem destruction and high energy use. The institute is pioneering innovative solutions like breeding perennial wheat, sorghum and sunflowers, and developing polyculture cropping ecosystems.

Jackson was born in 1936 on a farm near Topeka. He received a Bachelor of Arts in biology, in 1958 from Kansas Wesleyan, master's degree in botany from University of Kansas in 1960 and doctorate in genetics from North Carolina State University in 1967. He was a professor of biology at Kansas Wesleyan and later established the environmental studies department at California State University, Sacramento, where he became a tenured full professor. He resigned that position in 1976 and returned to Kansas to found The Land Institute.

Jackson is a recipient of the Pew Conservation Scholars award, 1990; a MacArthur Fellowship, 1992; Right Livelihood Award, Stockholm, known as "Alternative Nobel Prize," 2000; and the Louis Bromfield Award, 2010. He has received five honorary doctorates. In 2007, he received the University of Kansas Distinguished Service Award and was one of the 2011 recipients of the University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' Distinguished Alumni Awards. Garden Club of America awarded him the Elizabeth Craig Weaver Proctor Medal in 2012.

In addition to lecturing nationwide and abroad, Jackson is involved outside The Land Institute with a variety of projects including being a Post Carbon Institute Fellow.

Life magazine named Jackson as one of 18 individuals it predicted would be among the 100 "important Americans of the 20th century." In the November 2005 issue, the Smithsonian named him one of "35 Who Made a Difference." He was included in Rolling Stone's "100 Agents of Change" in March 2009, and in Ingram's "50 Kansans You Should Know" in January 2011.

Alpha Mu, the grain science honor society, and the Grain Science Graduate Student Organization are sponsoring this lecture.