E.T. York Distinguished
Lecturer Series

The E.T. York Distinguished Lecturer Series features internationally known speakers addressing issues related to agriculture, food, the environment and natural resources. It was established in the Auburn University College of Agriculture in 1981 through a gift from E.T. and Vam Cardwell York; both are native Alabamians and Auburn University graduates.

Dr. York served as Director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service from 1959 until 1962; he then went on to head the USDA’s Federal Extension Service in Washington, D.C. Later, he served as provost and vice president for agriculture at the University of Florida and then chancellor of the State University System of Florida until his retirement in 1980. 

Lectures are free and open to the public.

Past York Lecturers

2023 - E.T. York Distinguished Lecturers

Dr. Walter Hill

Fall 2023 – Integrative Agriculture, Research-Extension, and Justice: A Land-Grant Perspective

Walter Hill is a professor and vice provost at Tuskegee University. He served as dean of agriculture at Tuskegee for 34 years, as the 1890 research director for 35 years, the 1890 extension administrator for 17 years, and as a faculty member for 46 years. He helped found numerous organizations including the Alabama Agriculture Alliance, 1890 Universities Foundation, Carver Integrative Sustainability Center, Macon County Farmers Market, Black Belt Innovation and Marketing Center, and Professional Agricultural Workers Journal. He was project director for NASA’s Center for Food and Environmental Systems at Tuskegee; the Center of Excellence for Food Systems, Rural Prosperity and Environmental Sustainability; the NSF Noyce Teachers Scholars in STEM Education Project; and Southern Food Systems Education Consortium. He received a bachelor’s from Lake Forest College, master’s degrees from the University of Chicago and University of Arizona, and a doctorate from the University of Illinois.

2022 - E.T. York Distinguished Lecturers

Dr. Ranveer Chandra

Spring 2022 – Empowering Farmers with Affordable Digital Agriculture Techniques (video)

Ranveer Chandra is CTO of Agri-Food at Microsoft, leading research and innovation across different industry verticals including retail, FSI and energy. He started the FarmBeats project in 2015, which shipped as a Microsoft product in 2019. He has an undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur and a Ph.D. in computer science from Cornell University.

Dr. Thomas Spencer

Fall 2022 – Impacts of Basic and Translational Research on Reproductive Health in Humans and Animals (video)

Thomas Spencer is a Curators’ Distinguished Professor at the University of Missouri. His research program is focused on biological pathways regulating development and function of the uterus and placenta to supply fundamental information for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of fertility problems and disease to improve women’s reproductive health using a variety of animal models including sheep, cattle and mice. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Auburn University and later received his doctorate in reproductive biology from Texas A&M University. Spencer also earned a post-doctorate degree in reproductive biology from Baylor College of Medicine.

2021 - E.T. York Distinguished Lecturers

Mr. Kip Tom

Spring 2021 – Kip Tom served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture and the U.S. ambassador to the Rome-based United Nations agencies. Before his appointment, Tom was chief executive officer of Indiana-based Tom Farms, which is among Indiana’s largest farming operations and a leading supplier to Monsanto.

2019 - E.T. York Distinguished Lecturers

Dr. Scott Hutchins

Fall 2019 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Undersecretary

Dr. Kan Wang

Spring 2019 – (in collaboration with the Littleton-Franklin Lecture Series) Global Professor of Biotechnology, Iowa State University, Department of Agronomy and Co-Director of Iowa State University’s Crop Bioengineering Center.

2018 - E.T. York Distinguished Lecturers

Dr. David Zilberman

Fall 2018 – Professor and Robinson Chair in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California-Berkley

Dr. Bernadette Dunham

Spring 2018 – (in collaboration with the Littleton-Franklin Lecture Series) Visiting Professor, Milken Institute School of Public Health

2017 - E.T. York Distinguished Lecturers

Vimlendra Sharan

Fall 2017 – Director of the North American Liaison Office of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam

Spring 2017 – (in collaboration with the Littleton-Franklin Lecture Series) A researcher and Extension specialist in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California, Davis, with expertise in the use of animal genomics and biotechnology in livestock production systems.  

E.T. York Lecturer Series Committee

View the E.T. York Lecturer Series Committee Members

Majors & Minors

Graduate Degrees & Programs


About E.T. York


Kelly Pippin
Academic and Research Programs
101 Comer Hall
Auburn Univ, AL
(334) 844-3210