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Eight receive top award from
Purdue Agriculture


The College of Agriculture presented its highest honor, the Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award, to eight recipients during a campus ceremony
April 1.

"These eight people represent who we are and what we do so well," said Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. "They are businesspeople, educators and researchers working in both the public and private sectors, and they are all leaders. We take great pride in our alumni, and these are eight of our best."

The award honors mid-career Purdue Agriculture graduates who have made significant contributions to their profession or society in general and have a record of outstanding accomplishments.

The 2011 recipients are:

Michael J. Beach, PhD '87, Lawrenceville, Ga., associate director for healthy water at the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. He previously had served the CDC as epidemiologist in the Division of Parasitic Diseases and research chemist in the hepatitis branch.

Gary E. Chenoweth, BS '74, Ballwin, Mo., recently appointed vice president, customer relationship leader, of Bunge Oils. Since 2004, he had been responsible for the marketing, sales, and profit and loss of all bulk soybean and canola oils sold in the United States. Chenoweth entered the food science industry as a service representative for Durkee Foods in 1974. He joined Central Soya as a sales representative in 1980, working his way up to vice president of refined oils in 1999. He held that post for three years before joining Bunge North America as director of refined oils in 2003.

W. Douglas Griffin, BS '90, Duluth, Ga., vice president of marketing of AGCO Corporation since 2006. He worked for Caterpillar Inc. for 15 years, starting in the Engineering Cooperative Education Program as a student at Purdue, and joined AGCO when it acquired the Challenger line of equipment from Caterpillar in 2002.

Vernon R. Hawkins, BS '85, Greensboro, N.C., who went to work at a now Syngenta-owned company following his Purdue graduation and has worked his way up to president of Syngenta Crop Protection. He has held the position since January 2010. He previously served Syngenta as vice president of U.S. commercial operations for nearly five years.

Paavo Mäkinen, MS '85, Helsinki, Finland, who studied at Purdue as a Fulbright Scholar, where his research focused on agricultural and trade policies from 1981 to 1987. He returned home to Finland to finish his Ph.D. Mäkinen has held positions in the Finland's Ministry of Agriculture, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, Finland's Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners, and in the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. He is a deputy head at the European Commission Representation in Finland.

John D. Mumford, BS '74, Silwood Park, Ascot, U.K., director of the Center for Environmental Policy in the faculty of natural sciences at Imperial College London. He is an entomologist highly respected for his analysis and opinions of pest problems and their management.

Angela Lynn Siemens, BS '83, Wichita, Kan., vice president/technical services of Cargill Animal Protein. Siemens is responsible for the management of food safety for the beef, pork, turkey and meat processing company. She started her career in agriculture in 1990 as a food technologist with Beatrice Foods Inc. before moving to Oscar Mayer Foods Corp. as a process technologist in 1992. She has served as vice president of quality assurance for Smithfield Foods and was responsible for management of all food safety programs in the pork and meat processing company.

Fujiang Wen, PhD '90, Tai'an, Shandong Province, China, president of Shandong Agricultural University. Wen spent two years at Purdue as a postdoctoral associate working on transgenic rice biotechnology. He joined the faculty at Shandong Agricultural University when he returned to China in 1992. He became vice president within five years and then president in 2002. In addition, he has served as vice president of the Chinese Phytopathological Society since 2003.

To nominate a College of Agriculture alumnus for a Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award, go to

Purdue Agriculture, 615 West State Street,
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2053 USA, (765) 494-8396
© 2011 Purdue University. An equal access, equal opportunity university.

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