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Statue of Norman Borlaug may end up in U.S. Capitol

There soon may be a statue in the U.S.

There soon may be a statue in the U.S. Capitol of the late Norman Borlaug — the noted University of Minnesota alum who’s considered the father of the Green Revolution for his work in agriculture.

He died in 2009, and was was one of only six people to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. He’s considered one of the U of M’s most famous graduates.

But the statue will be headed to D.C. from Iowa, where Borlaug was born.

The Iowa House has approved a measure to make Borlaug’s statue one of the two statues of famous citizens from each state allowed in the Capitol, says the Des Moines Register. The state Senate must still approve the measure.

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Borlaug’s statue would replace one of James Harlan, an Iowan who served in the U.S. Senate in the 1800s and who was secretary of the interior under President Andrew Johnson, the paper said.

A tribute to Borlaug published in 2009 by the University of Minnesota says:

A member of the wrestling team, he earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry and went on to receive master’s and doctoral degrees in plant pathology.

Today, his name lives on at his alma mater and far beyond its borders. Examples include Borlaug Hall, the largest building on the St. Paul campus; the USDA Borlaug Fellows program; and an extensive wheat-breeding program.

In 2007 the Department of Plant Pathology established the Norman E. Borlaug Fellowship for International Agriculture. When fully endowed, the fellowship will provide a stipend for graduate fellows to complete part of their studies in an underdeveloped country while obtaining their degrees from the University of Minnesota.

FYI, Minnesota’s two statues in the Capitol are:

  • Henry Mower Rice, one of the state’s first senators and a U of M regent.
  • Maria L. Sanford, one of the first women to be a college professor and a champion of women’s rights and education for blacks.