July 12, 2012



Honorary degree caps career for Book

Honorary degree caps career for Book
Honorary doctorate recipient Bob Book and his wife, Jeanne, at their home in Carmel, Ind. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell) 

With a career spanning more than 60 years in the agricultural industry and more than 35 years of active and reserve service in the U.S. Marines, not much surprises Robert M. “Bob” Book, BS ’52.

But Book, who has demonstrated a life of service to his community and country during his 83 years, was surprised to receive an honorary doctorate in agriculture from Purdue University.

“It was something I wasn’t expecting but was deeply honored to receive,” said Book, retired president of AgriVista Inc. “It brings a cycle of fulfillment to my career. Having been a farm boy from Indiana who went to Purdue, graduated and worked in the field of agriculture all my life, to receive an honorary degree is something that is way beyond my wildest anticipations and thoughts. I’m not sure I deserve it, but I’ll sure take it.”

After completing his bachelor's degree in animal sciences, Book earned an MBA from Indiana University and completed the Senior Executive Program at Columbia University.

Coming Monday, July 16:

The next edition of ConnectionsNow! will take a look at the first Borlaug Summer Institute on Food Security currently underway on the Purdue campus.  Purdue's Center for Global Food Security hopes to develop the next generation of scientists to solve the complex issues of global hunger.

Book became a driving force behind Elanco, a division of Eli Lilly and Company, when he joined as a sales representative in 1955. After retiring in 1983 as group vice president of agricultural marketing, he became the first president of the Indiana Institute of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Inc. (now AgrIInstitute), a nonprofit economic development and educational organization, serving until 1992.

Book traveled on trade missions to Europe and the Mediterranean and, during the Reagan administration, accompanied the U.S. secretary of agriculture on market development trips to Central and South America, China, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Poland and the former Soviet Union.

Book, of Carmel, Ind., and Bud Harmon established the Purdue University Book Harmon Leadership Program in Animal Sciences, which began in 2005. It includes forums and retreats, scholarships, industry mentoring and an awards program, with the goal of promoting leadership in animal agriculture.

Board positions benefiting from Book's expertise include the Farm Foundation, Neogen Corp. Inc., Ag Alumni Seed, U.S. Grains Council and the National FFA Foundation, among many others.

Book was one of seven people who received an honorary doctorate during spring commencement ceremonies. Others included retiring Purdue President France A. Córdova and 2010 Nobel Prize-winning chemist Ei-ichi Negishi.

Purdue Agricultural Education Centennial artwook

Ag Education to celebrate 100 years at Purdue
Registration is open for the Agricultural Education Centennial celebration scheduled for Aug. 11 on the Purdue campus. The daylong event will include bus tours of campus, a chance to visit with classmates, a luncheon program featuring a presentation of the campus master plan, and an evening reception and banquet in the Purdue Memorial Union North Ballroom.

Alumni of the program will also have an opportunity to record stories that will be added to a new History of Purdue Agricultural Education website.

The registration deadline is August 1.  Printable registration forms are available at http://www.ydae.purdue.edu/aged100th/registration.html

Nominations sought for top Purdue Ag awards
The College of Agriculture and its Agricultural Alumni Association are now accepting nominations for their top two annual awards recognizing achievement and service to the agricultural profession.

The alumni association's Certificate of Distinction will be given Feb. 2, 2013, in Indianapolis during the group's annual meeting, the Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry. The college's Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award will be presented at a special convocation March 1 on the Purdue campus.

The Certificate of Distinction recognizes those who have made significant contributions to agriculture through professional accomplishments, activity in organizations, community service and other activities that make the nominees a credit to their professions.

The Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award recognizes mid-career alumni of the College of Agriculture who have a record of outstanding accomplishments, have made significant contributions to their professions or society in general, and exhibit high potential for professional growth.

Nomination deadlines are Aug. 31 for the Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award and Oct. 1 for the Certificate of Distinction.

The awards continue to attract a strong pool of candidates, said Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture. He encouraged agriculture, food and natural resources organizations to submit nominations.

"The significance of these awards is enhanced by the quality of each year's honorees," he said. "Our partners and stakeholders play a critical role in identifying outstanding nominees from a broad range of backgrounds and disciplines."

Further criteria for nominations and instructions on how to submit them are at http://www.ag.purdue.edu/agalumni/pages/awards.aspx. The site also lists previous winners.

Beck receives America Seed Trade Association
The American Seed Trade Association spotlighted Sonny Beck, BS ’62, MS ’64, of Atlanta, Ind., with its Honorary Member Award during its 129th Annual Convention June 22 in National Harbor, Md.

Honorary Members have distinguished themselves through leadership, vision and service.

“Honorary Members truly represent the best of the best," said Mike Gumina, ASTA chairman and vice president of production, safety, health and environment/risk management for Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business. "My choice this year is no exception. Sonny has become a much-beloved living legend in this business. As president of Beck's Hybrids, his business philosophy emphasizes quality, service and the importance of agronomic research to the future well-being of the American farmer.

“Most importantly, Sonny is a farmer. He wears boots, blue jeans and a collared shirt every day to work."

Beck has been supportive of ASTA and a key player in the organization. He has served in numerous ways, including as Soybean Seed Division chair, Central Region vice president, ASTA president 2002-2003 and as a member of the First the Seed Foundation board of directors.

During the past 30 years, Beck and his family have conducted practical farm research studies to help farmers grow better crops. He was one of the first to establish long-term no-till studies on corn and soybeans in Indiana.

Although Beck's Hybrids markets only in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio, it has become the sixth largest U.S. seed company and the largest family-owned retail seed business in the United States.



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