Former U of M researcher bestowed highest civilian honor awarded by Congress

Categories: Environment

A former University of Minnesota scientist received the Congressional Gold Medal Tuesday during a ceremony held in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington D.C. Dr. Norman Borlaug—who earned bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees while studying plant pathology at the U of M—was honored for developing high-yield strains of disease-resistant wheat in the 1960's, an achievement that sparked the Green Revolution and helped to alleviate hunger throughout much of the Third World.

"He has long understood that one of the greatest threats to global progress is the torment of human hunger," said President Bush during the ceremony. "Dr. Borlaug, I thank you for your vision and dedication." (A full transcript of Bush's speech can be found here.)

In conducting his research, Dr. Borlaug confronted what he called "the Population Monster"—mankind's inability to produce enough food to keep up with worldwide population gains. He saw various social ills, such as war and terrorism, as consequences of this phenomenon. As Borlaug explained in 1970 upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize: "You can't build peace on empty stomachs."

Read more about Dr. Borlaug and his accomplishment here.

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