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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Aug. 12, 2005

Regents approve two honorary degrees

by Anne Krapfl

Iowa State will award two honorary degrees of humane letters in the coming year, following approval by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, Aug. 4.

The first award will be presented to Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, chief architect of the 1960s "green revolution" that helped India produce enough to meet its own food needs. Swaminathan was instrumental in developing rice and wheat varieties that increased food supplies for billions of people around the world.

A 1987 recipient of the World Food Prize, he was a plenary speaker at the first (1992) International Crop Science Congress, hosted by Iowa State, and since then has taken an interest in the university's programs in agriculture and food. He has hosted ISU students and faculty members at his research foundation in Chennai, India. He delivered the first Norman Borlaug Lecture at ISU in 2003.

Swaminathan will be honored in December during fall commencement activities.

The second award will be presented to Iowa State alumnus Graham Spanier, who since 1995 has served as president of Pennsylvania State University. Spanier is being honored for vision, service and leadership to higher education in this country.

Spanier's academic career includes service at the State University of New York, Stony Brook; Oregon State University, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; and Penn State. In his broader service to higher education, he has been chair of the:

  • Board of directors of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges
  • Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents/Chancellors
  • NCAA Division I board of directors
  • Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities

He has served as vice-chair of the Worldwide Universities Network and president of the National Council of Family Relations.

Spanier received B.S. and M.S. degrees in sociology from Iowa State and a Ph.D., also in sociology, from Northwestern University.

He will be honored in August 2006 at summer commencement activities.


Iowa State will confer honorary degrees of humane letters in the next year to outstanding individuals in plant breeding and higher education administration.