Aggie From Brazil Named A&M’s Outstanding International Alumnus

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COLLEGE STATION, April 10, 2013 – Dr. José Geraldo Eugênio de França, Class of 1990, has been named the recipient of Texas A&M University’s 2013 Outstanding International Alumnus Award.

Director of Research and Graduate Studies at the Technological Institute of Pernambuco, in Recife, Brazil, Eugênio, was presented the award Tuesday (April 9) by Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin and The Association of Former Students’ President and CEO Porter S. Garner III, along with David Heath, chair of the association’s board, and Vice Chancellor and Dean Mark A. Hussey of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Eugênio leads a group working to upgrade the research and innovation capabilities of the local industry and the engineering teaching capacity of the universities and private schools. He is also committed to better understanding the bioenergy and biofuels industry in Brazil and in the USA.

“Texas A&M University was such a turning point in my life – it made me committed to this great university forever,” said Eugênio. “I would like to share this moment with my family, teachers, professors, colleagues and friends who I had the grace to meet during this amazing journey.”
“Dr. Eugênio adheres to the values that we seek to instill in our students, most notably loyalty, selfless service and leadership,” said President Loftin. “He has touched many lives in his country and created long lasting collaborations with Texas A&M University. We are very proud to have him represent Texas A&M in Brazil as our Outstanding International Alumnus.”

Born in the Federative Republic of Brazil, Eugênio earned his bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Federal Rural University in Brazil (1978), his master’s degree in plant breeding from Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University in India (1983), now known as the Acharya N. G. Ranga Agricultural University and International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, and a Ph.D. in soil and crop science (1990) from Texas A&M.

“The Outstanding International Alumnus Award exists to formally acknowledge those unique former students who came to Texas A&M from across national and cultural boundaries and who now serve as loyal ambassadors of the worldwide Aggie Network,” said Garner. “Dr. Eugênio is truly deserving of this prestigious award as he embodies the Spirit of Aggieland and reflects it in ways that make us all proud.”
“Recognizing Dr. Eugênio for his exceptional work is a great pleasure for me,” said Vice Chancellor and Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Mark A. Hussey. “As a land-grant university with a mission of promoting education, research, service and extension, we know that not only is his work an admirable example of that mission, it also represents our dedication to expand our reach worldwide."
His 25- year career has taken Eugênio from northeastern region of Brazil, where he was a cereal or sorghum and vegetable breeder, to the halls of academia. He has moved from teaching biology at a local college in Vitoria de Santo Antao to serving as president of the Agriculture Research Institute to secretary of Agriculture in the State of Pernambuco in 1995, before moving on to service in the Ministry of Agriculture in 1996.

From 2000 to 2003, thousands of families in northeastern Brazil were supported by grants and loans through his leadership while at the Institute for Agrarian Reform the State of Pernambuco. In 2003 Eugênio took a position at Embrapa, a leading agricultural research institution in Brazil. Over the past 30 years, EMPRABA has been a trailblazer in the agricultural revolution in Brazil, helping the country move into a position of leadership in food, biofuels and raw material production. EMPRABA has 42 national research centers, 9,600 employees including 3,100 scientists and a budget of more than $1 billion. Eugênio, who began as an advisor to the president, became head of research and development and then executive director of EMPRABA in 2005. It was during this time that Eugênio created a collaborative partnership between EMPRABA and Texas A&M, creating an opportunity for Texas A&M to become a prestigious university in Brazil.

“His loyalty and respect for Texas A&M is such that through Eugênio’s recommendation, Texas A&M was selected by Dr. John Holdren, science advisor to President Barack Obama and Sergio Machado Rezende, the Brazilian Minister of Science and Technology, as one of nine universities for bi-national collaboration,” said Alan Sams, executive associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Eugênio has been presented with many awards for his service including the Order of Scientific Merit by President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva of Brazil. He also served as a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as a visiting professor in bioenergy and biofuels.
The Outstanding International Alumnus Award is jointly sponsored by Texas A&M, The Association of Former Students and the college of the recipient. Created in 1994, this award honors Texas A&M graduates who were not U.S. citizens while attending the university, but who went on to achieve prominence in education, the sciences, technology, agriculture, the arts, business, humanities or government.