Ronnie Coffman, Ph.D. '71, director of International Programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and international professor of plant breeding and genetics, was honored with the 2011 Mentoring Award from the Women in Agronomy, Crops, Soil and Environmental Sciences (WACSES) Oct. 18.
In the award citation, Coffman was cited for the tremendous energy that he has devoted to enhancing the careers of many women scientists in agriculture and plant breeding; for making a remarkable difference at pivotal points in many women's careers around the world due to his advocacy, humility and encouragement; and for recognizing the importance of gender equity when working toward a food-secure world.
Coffman received the award during the 2011 annual meetings of the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) in San Antonio.
"I expect that my most notable mentor, Norman Borlaug, would agree that Mark Twain provided the best advice for mentoring when he said, 'Always do the right thing; a few people will appreciate it, and the rest will be astonished.'
"Supporting young women and men based on their ability, as opposed to their gender, is clearly the right thing to do," Coffman went on to say. "I have never felt that I did anything special in supporting women. The truth of the matter is that I have derived most of the benefit by associating with outstanding people."
At Cornell, Coffman has served as the director of International Programs for 10 years, chair of the Department of Plant Breeding for a total of 12 years and associate dean for research for eight years.