Professor James Brewbaker, Ph.D., gave the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) its largest monetary, faculty-given gift and received a national award today.
Brewbaker, a member of CTAHR, established the James L. Brewbaker Endowed Fellowship with outright and estate gifts totaling $1 million.
“This fellowship will assist full-time graduate students who studying plant breeding in CTAHR’s department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences,” CTAHR Dean Maria Gallo said at a press conference.
PREPARING THE NEXT PLANT BREEDERS
Gallo said Brewbaker has mentored over 50 Master’s and doctoral students.
“He keeps in touch with them through his Dr. B newsletter. That’s not enough for him,” Gallo said.
According to Gallo, Brewbaker’s gift is the largest gift the college has ever received from a CTAHR faculty member.
Brewbaker said he got the $1 million from saving five percent of his monthly salary for 60 years.
“The amazing thing is when I finished my Ph.D. in 1952, people were kind enough to pay me a monthly salary, which has been increasing for 60 years. One of the great pleasures being in a university and getting tenure,” Brewbaker said at a press conference. “I just put five percent of that away. Of course 15 percent had already gone to the government. A little five percent goes a long ways.”
Brewbaker said it was nice to be honored.
“When I began to think about sharing my wealth, I had no question that it would be this college, and I had no question it would be plant breeding crop improvement broadly,” Brewbaker said.
A NATIONAL AWARD
Brewbaker also received the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) Presidential Award, recognizing his six decades of work as a plant breeder.
According to a press release, the award recognizes outstanding contributions to crop science through education, national and international service, and research.
Gallo received the award on his behalf during the society’s meeting earlier this month in Florida.
“I was privileged to accept on his behalf his latest award, the Crop Science Society of America 2013 Presidential Award. I did so at the international organization’s annual meeting in Florida a couple of days ago, and I’m even more honored to be able to present it to him today,” Gallo said.
THE “FATHER OF CORN”
Brewbaker is known as the “father of corn” and “grandfather of supersweet corn in Asia,” according to Gallo.
“He’s been a prolific scholar since joining the UH faculty in 1961,” Gallo said. “He developed the local seed corn industry, which is now the state’s leading local commodity, producing a record $243 million of revenue in 2011.”
Brewbaker also established Hawaiʻi Foundation Seeds to preserve and manage parent seed stocks.
“For these reasons and many, many more he has received nearly every accolade available to a plant breeder in geneticists,” Gallo said.
Brewbaker joined the UH faculty in 1961. He received a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. from Cornell University.