Skip to Content
Skip to Content
Skip Sub Menu

The 42nd Bucksbaum lecture with Cary Fowler planned for Thursday, April 2 has been canceled. This decision is part of a broader response by Drake University to help minimize spread of the coronavirus. Most events on campus between Saturday, March 14 and April 5 are being canceled.

An Evening with Cary Fowler


Appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, Cary Fowler is a former member of the U.S. National Plant Genetic Resources Board. He is also a former board and executive committee member of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico.

Fowler’s Bucksbaum lecture will be the first lecture in the series to focus on the crucial role of agriculture and food in human survival. 

“Mr. Fowler was selected by the committee through our usual deliberative process and had been on our wish list for several years,” said Neil Hamilton, chair of the Bucksbaum Lecture selection committee. “His leadership has brought the world's attention to the importance of our seed resources, and ensuring their future from threats including climate change and political conflicts and war.” 

In 2005, Fowler was chosen to serve as executive director for the Global Crop Diversity Trust, an international organization cosponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

In this role, he pioneered the initial effort to establish the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, the largest crop diversity conservation effort in the world. Today, the Seed Vault is capable of ensuring ultimate security for one million unique crop varieties, the biological foundation of agriculture and the raw material for all future plant breeding and crop improvement efforts.

Prior to leading the Global Crop Diversity Trust, Fowler served as chair of the Livestock Conservancy and was a professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Ås, Norway where he led the research and Ph.D. program at the Department of International Environment and Development Studies.

More recently, President Obama appointed Fowler to the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, which oversees and advises the US Agency for International Development on food security, research, and education matters.


Questions? For more information, contact Erica Hartschen, at 515-271-4990 or

Learn more about the Lectureship

The Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lecture Series is made possible by a gift from the late Melva and Martin Bucksbaum. The Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lectureship Committee includes: Neil Hamilton (chair), Julian Archer, James Autry, Pamela Bass-Bookey, Michael Gartner, Janis Ruan, Mary Bucksbaum Scanlon, Marcia Wanamaker, and Eleanor Zeff.

Previous Lecturers

  • Megan Rapinoe
  • Lisa Ling
  • Douglas Brinkley
  • Billy Collins & Clint Smith
  • Krista Tippett
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy
  • Peter Neufeld
  • Nina Totenberg
  • Tim Gunn
  • Walter Isaacson
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • James Balog
  • Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter
  • Vicente Fox
  • Garrison Keillor
  • Twyla Tharp
  • Dr. Azar Nafisi
  • Dr. Maya Angelou
  • Bill Bryson
  • Thomas R. Pickering
  • Erik Peterson
  • Nicholas Kristof
  • Bob Costas
  • Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield
  • David Chipperfield
  • Dr. Jane Goodall
  • Tim Russert
  • Sarah Jones
  • Salman Rushdie
  • Wynton Marsalis
  • Michael Beschloss
  • Earvin 'Magic' Johnson
  • Ken Burns
  • Bill Moyers
  • Martin Marty & Archbishop Rembert Weakland
  • Marian Wright Edelman
  • Senator Paul Simon
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • David McCullough
  • Ben Bradlee
  • Thomas Friedman