Jan. 9, 2014
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around the college

In this issue:
Fulbright Fellowship sends Keener to teach in Russia
Book of Great Teachers adds 9 COA faculty members
Biehle receives Hovde Award for service to rural Indiana
New Scholle chair in food science appointed
Hamaker named distinguished professor at Purdue

Fulbright Fellowship sends Keener to teach in Russia

Kevin Keener

Kevin Keener, a Purdue professor of food science, demonstrates his radiant fryer in a campus lab. (Purdue Agricultural Communication file photo/Tom Campbell)

Purdue University Professor Kevin Keener has been awarded a Distinguished Fulbright Fellowship to teach food science and food engineering at Moscow State AgroEngineering University in Russia during the 2014 spring semester.

Keener will serve as the Distinguished Chair in Agricultural Technology and Education from February through May, teaching classes to 120 undergraduate students and 30 graduate students. He also will help train colleagues and industry representatives in Russia on food safety, food technology and food security.

Keener said the fellowship will benefit his Purdue Extension food science activities and research program.

“Additionally, it shines a spotlight on Purdue and further enhances the food science department’s and Purdue University’s reputation as a world-leading institution,” Keener said.

Keener’s research into food-processing engineering has led to his inventions, including a process for rapidly cooling eggs to inhibit the growth of bacteria such as Salmonella. He also developed a radiant fryer, which can cook food that retains its “fried” flavor while containing up to 50 percent less fat and fewer calories than food cooked using conventional deep-fried methods.

Book of Great Teachers adds 9 COA faculty members

The 2013 class of inductees into Purdue’s Book of Great Teachers includes nine current and former faculty members of the College of Agriculture.

Overall, the university honored 68 inductees across all colleges, bringing the total honorees to 384. Those College of Agriculture professors honored include:

Agricultural & Biological Engineering/Biochemistry and Food Process Engineering
Martin Okos

Agricultural Economics
Freddie Barnard
Lawrence DeBoer Jr.
Frank Dooley
Marshall Martin, MS ’72, PhD ’76,

Animal Sciences
Dale Forsyth

Forestry and Natural Resources
John Dunning Jr.

Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
Paul Siciliano Jr., BS ’90
Kim Wilson

The Book of Great Teachers induction ceremony is held every five years to honor outstanding faculty who have demonstrated sustained excellence in the classroom.

Automatically included in the Book of Great Teachers are professors with 10 years of service to the University who previously have been honored with the Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, recognized as Indiana Professor of the Year or named by the trustees as distinguished professors of teaching. Other inductees have at least 15 years of service to the University and were nominated by students, alumni and colleagues.

“The Book of Great Teachers is an important symbol of a greater legacy, which is the tens of the thousands of lives that have been changed by these extraordinary teachers,” said Dale Whittaker, vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs at Purdue. “We’re honored to add this new class of teachers to the legacy.”

Everyone inducted into the Book of Great Teachers is listed on a bronze-and-walnut wall display in the Purdue Memorial Union. The display was first unveiled in 1999.

Biehle receives Hovde Award for service to rural Indiana

Donald J. Biehle
Donald J. Biehle

Donald J. Biehle, BS ’77, who has managed the Southeast Purdue Agricultural Center since it was created in 1977, is the 2013 recipient of the Frederick L. Hovde Award of Excellence in Educational Service to the Rural People of Indiana. 

The award honors Purdue University staff with a record of outstanding achievement and service to rural communities.

“Don has built SEPAC into a model integrated research and outreach farm over the past 35 years,” said Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture. “His leadership in implementing new crop production strategies and soil and water conversation projects, and expanding programming to new audiences has created an exceptional center for cutting-edge farm research and education serving southeastern Indiana.”

The Hovde Award is sponsored by Indiana Farm Bureau and carries with it a monetary prize. It is named for Purdue’s longest-serving president, who led the university from 1946 to 1971.

Biehle was born and raised in Jennings County, where SEPAC is located. He was completing a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics at Purdue in 1977 when he learned that the university was seeking a manager to develop a new regional research farm.

“With limited funding from the state and a few well-used tractors, Don returned to his home county to develop over 800 acres of surplus state land into an active research farm,” said Jerry Fankhauser Jr., director of Purdue Agricultural Centers (PAC).

Biehle spent the early years getting the fallow ground readied for field research by Purdue agricultural faculty and for local Purdue Extension programs. As SEPAC developed, Biehle diversified operations, trying new production techniques for corn, soybeans, and horticulture crops and timber management for woodlot owners. He also established soil drainage, tillage research, precision technology, wetlands for wildlife and fire protection, and automated weather stations.

In 2005, the state transferred an additional 1,600 acres to Purdue, making SEPAC the largest of the eight regional PACs, with more than 2,400 acres.

Biehle has also expanded the scope of programming beyond traditional field days and other Extension programs to increase the number of people who attend events at SEPAC. 

New Scholle chair in food science appointed

Jozef Kokini has been chosen to succeed Philip E. Nelson as the Scholle Endowed Chair in Food Processing at Purdue University.

Jozef Kokini
Jozef Kokini

Before coming to Purdue, Kokini had been the Eugene Bingham Professor of Food Engineering in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition of University of Illinois since 2007. While at Illinois, he also served as associate dean of research and director of the Illinois Agricultural Experiment Station of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

“Dr. Nelson’s research improved the lives of people across our nation and around the world. I am confident that Dr. Kokini will continue that legacy here at Purdue University in food science,” said Brian Farkas, head of the Department of Food Science. “He is pushing the envelope in the study of how components within foods interact during processing and through production and, after consumption, with the human body.”

Nelson, BS ’56, PhD ’67, received the World Food Prize in 2007 for his aseptic processing technology, which revolutionized storage and transport of fruit and vegetable products. He retired in 2010. 

Kokini previously had been at Rutgers University from 1980 to 2007, serving as chair of the Department of Food Science  from 2000 to 2007. He also served as the associate director of the Center for Advanced Food Technology from 1992 to 2000 and as director of that center from 2000 to 2007.

Kokini has published more than 200 scientific papers in refereed journals and book chapters. In 2011, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association for Engineering and Food. He was elected to the International Academy of Food Science and Technology in 2006. He was elected fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists in 2000.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

The family of the late William R. Scholle, inventor of bag-in-box packaging, donated $1.5 million in 2003 to fund the endowed chair at Purdue. 

Hamaker named distinguished professor at Purdue

Bruce R. Hamaker, MS ’83, PhD ’86, the Roy L. Whistler Chair in Carbohydrate Science, has been appointed a distinguished professor of food science at Purdue University.

Bruce R. Hamaker

Hamaker has been the Whistler Chair since 2008 and director of Purdue’s Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research since 2003.

As director of the Whistler Center and a professor of food science, Hamaker performs research on carbohydrates and health, cereal starch and protein structure-function relationships, and dietary fiber and the microbiome. In 2012 he and other scientists found a way to turn on or off the enzymes responsible for processing starchy foods into sugars in the human digestive system, a finding they believe will allow them to better control those processes in people with type 2 diabetes and obesity.

His research includes designing carbohydrates for potential health benefits and improving cereal use in developing countries.

Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture, said Hamaker has demonstrated excellence in all areas of the land-grant mission.

“His research on carbohydrate chemistry has true global impact, and he is dedicated to the education of students,” Akridge said. “His work has found application in human health and helping to address food insecurity, and he has built deep and productive partnerships with industry. Bruce is most deserving of this recognition.”

Hamaker came to Purdue in 1992 as a visiting associate professor, became associate professor in 1993 and was made a full professor in 1999. Before coming to Purdue, he was an assistant professor of food science at the University of Arkansas.

Hamaker won the Alsberg-French-Schoch Memorial Lectureship Award for advances in starch research from the American Association of Cereal Chemists in 2013 and the WK Kellogg International Food Security Award and Lectureship from the Institute of Food Technologists in 2012. He has published more than 140 articles in refereed research publications and has lectured throughout the world on his research.


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