Food science alumna selected to deliver 2018 Justin Smith Morrill Lecture


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) selected Haley Oliver, Ph.D. '09 to deliver the Justin Smith Morrill Lecture on Nov. 11 at the Association of Public Land-grant Universities Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Oliver, associate professor of food science at Purdue University, is the first woman selected to deliver the lecture. She was chosen in recognition of her demonstrated leadership in education as well as her contributions to promoting excellence in the food and agricultural sciences, according to the USDA.

Oliver earned her doctorate at Cornell in food science and technology. Her research focus includes investigating foodborne pathogen transmission in retail food environments and the use of molecular methods to understand how foodborne pathogens survive stress and cause disease.

Oliver received Purdue’s highest award for undergraduate teaching in 2018 and was one of 15 researchers nationwide selected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science to be a 2017-18 Public Engagement Fellow of the Alan I. Leshner Leadership Institute for Public Engagement with Science. Additionally, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue appointed her to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods, a panel that provides scientific advice, peer reviews, and impartial expertise to federal food safety agencies on public health issues related to the wholesomeness of domestic, imported, and exported foods.

The Justin Smith Morrill Memorial Lecture is one of three rotating memorial lectures honoring the founding fathers of the land-grant university system: Justin Smith Morrill, William Henry Hatch, and Seaman A. Knapp. This year’s Morrill Lecture is titled “1890 Land-Grant Universities: 125 Years of Providing Access and Opportunities for Success.” The lecture series, sponsored by NIFA, began in 1980 to highlight agriculture research, education and extension.