As the month of March wraps up, so do our students’ winter sports activities. I want to extend a hearty congratulations to all of our wrestling, boys basketball, and girls basketball athletes who had great success at the state tournament! We now turn our attention to spring sports and I look forward to following the continued achievements of our student athletes.
Iowa will soon have a new statue to be admired in our nation’s capital. On Tuesday, a statue of Iowa native Dr. Norman Borlaug will be officially unveiled in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol. Each state is represented by two statues. Dr. Borlaug’s statue will replace U.S. Senator James Harlan, which was installed in 1910, and will join the statue of Governor Samuel Kirkwood, installed in 1913. The Harlan statue will be relocated to Mount Pleasant.
I recently enjoyed reading an article entitled “The Iowan Who Saved A Billion Lives,” in Iowa History Journal, a magazine focused on preserving Iowa history and presenting it in both an educational and entertaining way. The article celebrates the legacy and global inspiration of Dr. Norman Borlaug- a true Iowa treasure.
Joining Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Elie Wiesel, Dr. Borlaug is one of only three Americans to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, the Congressional Gold Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He was born in Cresco, Iowa 100 years ago and is commonly referred to as “The Man Who Saved A Billion Lives” and “Agriculture’s Greatest Spokesperson” due to his efforts to revolutionize global food production and to help fight global hunger.
Dr. Borlaug spent his life researching and developing high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties that are now used to feed hungry people around the globe.
Borlaug’s education began in a one-room schoolhouse in Howard County that he attended through eighth grade. His education continued at Cresco High School, where he excelled in athletics, especially wrestling. Following high school, Borlaug applied to the University of Minnesota, but failed the entrance exam. Although some believed he lacked science and math skills, after much perseverance, Borlaug was accepted into the University of Minnesota two years later. The University now proudly houses a building named in his honor.
In 1986, 16 years after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to help fight global hunger, Borlaug created the World Food Prize to recognize individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality and quantity of food in the world. In 1990, John Ruan, a Des Moines businessman, established the World Food Prize Foundation located in Des Moines. Each October, in addition to awarding its latest recipient, the World Food Prize hosts the Borlaug Dialogue, a multi-day event that brings people together from more than 65 countries to address cutting-edge issues related to global food security and nutrition.
The unveiling of the statue not only falls on what would have been Borlaug’s 100th birthday, but is also National Agriculture Day- a very fitting time to honor Dr. Borlaug and his impact on global agriculture.
To view a live webcast of the historical unveiling ceremony, visit www.iowaborlaugstatue.org.
As the weather continues to warm and we approach adjournment, we will remain focused on the priorities of Iowans. Please contact me with your feedback on the issues you care about at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-281-4618.