Two AgBioResearch Scientists Honored by French Government

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Steve Pueppke and Jim Bingen display their French medals of honor. From left: Lila Laborde-Casterot, attaché scientifique adjoin (view larger image)

Two AgBioResearch scientists have received prestigious awards from the French government for their contributions to advancing the cause of French agriculture, culture and education.

Steven Pueppke, assistant vice president for research and graduate studies and director of the MAES and the MSU Office of Biobased Technologies, and James Bingen, professor of community, agriculture, recreation and resource studies, were presented with medals of honor by representatives of the French government at a Feb. 1 ceremony at the MSU University Club.

“The presentation of these awards is a symbolic gesture that rewards these two individuals and is also a mark of the excellent relations that exist between MSU and France,” said Jean-Pierre Toutant, French government representative.“The scientific service of the French Consulate in Chicago wishes to deepen these ties in agriculture as well as in other scientific fields.”

“Steve Pueppke and Jim Bingen are outstanding scientists,” said Ian Gray, MSU vice president for research and graduate studies. “Their work to foster and strengthen ties between MSU and French scholarship is furthering the university’s world-grant mission around the globe.”

Pueppke received the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Knight in the Order of Academic Palms). The Palmes Académiques is a decoration given to those who have advanced the cause of French culture, education and the arts throughout the world. It was established by Napoleon in 1808 to honor eminent members of the University of Paris and is one of the oldest and most prestigious decorations a scholar can receive from the French government.

Pueppke was recognized for his efforts over the past decade to build institutional relationships between U.S. and French university and research facilities.

“I am humbled by the award and honored to have helped enhance and increase the global reach of the collaborative research efforts between these two countries,” Pueppke said. “What a pleasure to have met and become friends with so many French colleagues who share common interests and goals.”

Pueppke is the seventh MSU faculty member to be awarded the Palmes Académiques. Previous winners were Ehsan Ahmed, Deidre Dawson, Michael Koppisch, Jean Nicholas, Anna Norris and Georges Joyaux.

Bingen received the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite agricole (Knight in the Agricultural Order of Merit), a lifetime appointment given by the French government. It was established in 1883 by Jules Méline, minister of agriculture, to recognize those making significant contributions to the development and progress of agriculture.

Bingen was acknowledged for his contributions to helping young Americans understand French farming practices and policy that are grounded in the history and values of place.

“I am deeply honored to receive such a prestigious award,” Bingen said. “It’s extremely fulfilling to have the opportunity to help a new generation discover and appreciate French farming practices that enhance the viability of small family farmers, both here and globally.”

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