The James C. Snyder Memorial Lecture

James C. Snyder

SnyderDr. James Snyder was born March 31, 1930 in Ontario, Canada.  He completed his
Bachelor’s Degree at Ontario Agricultural
College in 1953.  He came to Purdue for Graduate study in Agricultural Economics and earned his M.S. Degree in 1956 and a Ph.D. Degree in 1962. 

Jim very early on, demonstrated
extraordinary initiative and creativity in his graduate research. He became excited about the potential use of management decision models for agribusiness.  In recognition of his excellence in research, Jim received a Ph.D. thesis award from the American Farm Economics Association, the first such award earned by a Purdue student.

Upon completion of graduate study, Jim became a member of the faculty in Agricultural Economics at Purdue and began a brilliant teaching and research career, attaining the rank of Professor in 1969.  He was named Teacher of the Year in recognition of his outstanding undergraduate instruction in business management. 

His pioneering research contributed greatly to knowledge about the practical applicability of quantitative approaches to decision making in management of agribusiness firms.  He became increasingly excited about the growing success he was achieving by employing advanced quantitative methods in the solution of practical problems. His design of functional programs for management

decision-making is well known, and his consulting activities gave him insights and opportunities to make his work relevant to every-day business needs.

Jim Snyder was a master teacher of graduate students.  He gave the type of personalized and rigorous training which qualified them for leading positions in business, education and government.  He made research exciting and students responded with hard work, devotion and admiration.  Students wanted to work with him. Jim Snyder will be remembered as a brilliant colleague whose work, standards and style are a challenge to all to build and grow.


The Lecture

The James C. Snyder Memorial Lecture is the Department of Agricultural Economics’ signature event at Purdue University. The lectures were established at Purdue in February 1975 as an appropriate memorial to a distinguished member of the faculty.  Funds for the support of such a memorial are contributed by friends and corporations who wish to encourage the continuation of the professional efforts of Jim Snyder during his brief but brilliant career.

The purposes of the Memorial Lectures are:

  • To stimulate the intellectual environment of the Department for more creative research, teaching, Extension, and international activities. 
  • To recognize the professional contributions of Professor James Snyder in pioneering undergraduate curriculum in agricultural business management, and in the development and application of quantitative techniques for agribusiness research and training of graduates.
  • To contribute to the Department’s efforts to enhance and motivate excellence in all of its mission areas by bringing to the Purdue campus individuals who can offer unique contributions. 
  • To broaden the perspective of students by exposing them to outstanding professionals from other institutions, and close interaction both within structured situations and informal settings. 
  • To assist the faculty on specific assignments.

A top professional in agricultural business and economics, or related areas, is brought to the campus to interact with staff and students. The Memorial Lecture, of general interest to all Department professional staff and students, is the high point of the visit.  The lecture is open to the public with selected professional and lay people invited as special guests.


2014 Lecture: April 11, 2014


Panel Discussion
Krannert Auditorium
10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Welcome & Introduction: Dr. Ken Foster

Panel Discussion: Advancing the Agricultural Industry through Graduate Programs:
Building on the Legacy of James Snyder

Panelists: Dr. J.B. Penn, Dr. Michael Boehlje, and David Howell

Moderated by: Dr. Allan Gray


James C. Snyder Memorial Lecture
Krannert Auditorium
1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

Reflections on the Agriculture Industry - Another New Era Ahead

Introduction: Dr. Ken Foster

Dr. J.B. Penn
Chief Economist, Deere and Company

Dr. J. B. Penn is the chief economist of Deere & Company, a position he has held since 2006. He is responsible for heading the office which helps guide the company?s policy development and corporate growth initiatives worldwide, through the analysis of global trends in economics, business conditions, and governmental policies.

Prior to joining John Deere, Penn had served for more than five years as under secretary for farm and foreign agricultural services for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). He was actively involved in international affairs, including the trade negotiations and overseeing the operation of the farm programs, including risk management initiatives.

Before appointment to the USDA, Penn had an extensive career in the private sector. He was senior vice president and manager of Sparks Companies, Inc.?s Washington office for more than a dozen years. Prior to joining Sparks, he was president of Economic Perspectives, Inc. Penn?s former government experience includes service as deputy administrator for economics of the USDA?s then Economics and Statistics Service and as senior staff economist for the President?s Council of Economic Advisers.

Penn holds a bachelor?s degree in agriculture from Arkansas State University, a master?s degree in agricultural economics from Louisiana State University, and a doctorate in agricultural economics from Purdue University. He is a member of several professional organizations, a recipient of the Order of Australia, and a fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association.

J.B. Penn

Recent Snyder Lecturers

  • Robert B. Zoellick, 2013
  • Rob Paarlberg, 2012 - Video of Lecture (700 MB), viewable PC, iPhone, iPad ( Presentation Slides )
  • Thomas Hoenig, 2011 - Video of Lecture (300 MB)
  • Ian Sheldon, 2010
  • Brian Wright, 2009
  • Scott Irwin, 2008
  • Jason Shogren 2007
  • Zoltan Acs, 2006
  • David Downey, 2005
  • Douglas Hedley, 2004
  • Susan Offutt, 2003
  • Victor Davis Hanson, 2002

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