Posted: November 30, 2017

Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has named Kira Bowen, professor of plant pathology at Auburn University, and Bruce Bugbee, professor of environmental plant physiology at Utah State University, as 2017 Outstanding Alumni. This award is the highest given by the college and recognizes high-achieving alumni with notable professional accomplishments who bring distinction to themselves, the college and the University.

Bruce Bugbee and Kira Bowen

Bruce Bugbee and Kira Bowen

Kira Bowen graduated from Penn State in 1980 with an undergraduate degree in plant sciences and holds a master's degree from the University of Minnesota and doctorate from the University of Illinois. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at North Carolina State University. She joined the faculty at Auburn in 1988.

Bowen has contributed significantly to her field of plant disease epidemiology. Her research on peanut aflatoxin has had a direct impact on peanut and corn production and consumers in the United States and abroad. She has authored

View photos from the Outstanding Alumni Award and Armsby Honor Society Ceremony, a spectacular evening full of talented alumni leading exemplary lives in their professions and communities, distinguishing them as Penn State award honorees.

dozens of scholarly articles and other publications and is an editor for the journal Plant Disease. She also is a noted teacher and mentor at Auburn as well as vice president of the American Phytopathology Society.

Bowen has received multiple awards, including the Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award from Auburn and Outstanding Alumna Award from the Department of Plant Pathology at Minnesota, and is a lifetime member of the Penn State Alumni Association and member of the Golden Lion Society.

Bruce Bugbee received his doctorate in horticulture from Penn State in 1981. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota and a master's degree from the University of California, Davis. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Utah State University and subsequently joined the faculty, achieving full professorship, in 1996.

Bugbee's work on food production in regenerative environments for use on space stations has been supported by NASA funding for more than 30 years, and most recently resulted in funding for his participation in a multi-university institute, where he will characterize plant growth in the space environment and Mars habitat. He is also a noted speaker and inventor and founded Apogee Instruments, a leading manufacturer of research-grade instrumentation related to precision irrigation scheduling, climate change and plant response to the environment.

Over the course of his career, Bugbee has authored or co-authored more than 150 journal articles, book chapters and an edited book. In 2016, he was the recipient of the D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award, the most prestigious research accolade at Utah State. He also received the State of Utah's Governor's Award for Science and Technology in 2012.

In addition to receiving the Outstanding Alumni Award in 2017, Bowen and Bugbee also were inducted into the College of Agricultural Sciences Armsby Honors Society.

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Kelly Praskovich
  • Associate Director of Alumni Relations

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