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Hugh L. Popenoe Mesoamerican Research Endowment

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This fund was established in 2013 to support University of Florida faculty and graduate student grants for research on topics related to Mesoamerica weather.

Hugh devoted his life to the tropical world, its people, and its agriculture. His education in Guatemala prepared him for a bachelor’s degree in irrigation and his first employment in Thailand. He earned a doctorate on the effects of shifting cultivation on basic soil properties near Lake Isabal in Guatemala. He spent the rest of his professional life teaching for the University as a professor in Soils and Water Management, Botany, Agronomy, and Geography and being involved in various international activities.

After directing the Caribbean Research Program, he was appointed Director of the Center for Tropical Agriculture in 1965; Director of International Programs in Agriculture in 1966. He initiated and was Director of the Florida Sea Grant College from 1971 to 1978 and performed the duties of Chairman of the Council of Sea Grant Directors during this time.

At the national level, he chaired the joint Committee of Agricultural Research and Development of the Board of International Food and Development and also served on the Board of Science and Development of the National Research Council (NRC) and chaired the Advisory Committee of Technology Innovation. Hugh was the chairman or committee member of 16 NRC publications and also a member of the National Science Foundation International Advisory Committee, and founder and president of the American Water Buffalo Association.

Internationally, Hugh was a past president and emeritus board member of La Escuela Agricola Panamericana (Zamorano) in Honduras. He was a trustee of the International Foundation for Science and a founding board member of the Organization for Tropical Studies.

He was a fellow of the Soil Science Society of America, the American Society of Agronomy, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Geographical Society. He was awarded the Science Pioneer Prize of the Egyptian Veterinary Association of Buffalo Development, and was a visiting lecturer on tropical public health at the Harvard School of Public Health.

In 1964 he was honored as the University of Florida Professor of the Year in Agriculture. Hugh passed away in 2011.

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