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Honorary Degree To Be Awarded To Dr. Cary Fowler

Publication Date: 5/9/2011

Dr. Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, will receive the Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree at the 162nd Commencement of Rhodes College on Saturday, May 14. The ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. in Fisher Garden on the Rhodes campus. Tickets are required for seating. In the event of rain, commencement will take place in the multi-sports forum of the Bryan Campus Life Center on campus. President William E. Troutt will preside over the ceremony.

Dubbed “The World’s Seed Banker,” Fowler is leading a global effort to ensure the genetic diversity of the world’s food crops is preserved for future generations. Fowler grew up in Memphis and graduated from White Station High School in 1967 before enrolling at Rhodes College.

In the 1990s, he headed the International Conference and Programme on Plant Genetic Resources, which produced the United Nation’s first ever global assessment of the state of the world’s plant genetic resources. Fowler served as a Norwegian University of Life Sciences professor and researcher before joining the Global Crop Diversity Trust in 2005.

Based in Rome, Italy, the trust oversees the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway, which now holds one-third of the world’s seed varieties. Fowler has been interviewed about the seed vault by various media including CBS’ “60 Minutes,” CNN, The New Yorker and National Geographic. In 2010,  he received the prestigious Heinz Award for his “vision and efforts in the preservation of the world’s food supply.”
“Carey Fowler’s commitment to the preservation of our planet is extraordinary. In his passion for learning and a compassion for others, he exemplifies our highest ideals,” says President Troutt.

Tags: Alumni, Campus Life, Honors, President


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