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Butz, Earl L. (Earl Lauer), 1909-2008

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: July 3, 1909 - February 2, 2008

Biographical Information

Dr. Earl L. Butz, educator, administrator, and government official was born on July 3, 1909 to Harmon Lee Butz and Ada Tillie Lower in Albion, Indiana.  Dr. Butz graduated from Purdue University in 1932 (B.S., Agriculture) with a major in animal husbandry. During his undergraduate career at Purdue he served as an editor to the Exponent, and was a member of Iron Key Honor Society and Alpha Gamma Rho (a national agricultural fraternity). In 1937 he received his doctorate from Purdue in Agricultural Economics, and joined the Purdue staff as an agriculture instructor.

From 1943 to 1944 Dr. Butz worked at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.; from 1946 to 1954 he was head of the agricultural economics department at Purdue. In 1954 Butz was appointed Assistant Secretary of Agriculture under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In that same year he was appointed to the chairmanship of the United States delegation to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In 1957 he resigned both offices to become the Dean of Agriculture at Purdue. Butz served as Dean of Agriculture from 1957 to 1967 and was Dean of Continuing Education and President of the Purdue Research Foundation from 1968 to 1971.

President Richard M. Nixon appointed Dr. Butz United States Secretary of Agriculture in 1971.  He continued to serve in that capacity within the President Gerald R. Ford administration. Dr. Butz was a highly controversial figure throughout his tenure in this position.  He resigned on October 4, 1976, the a result of controversy in response to comments he made in public.

During his time at Purdue University he was active in professional, academic, and civic organizations. These included being president of the Lafayette Kiwanis Club, vice president of the American Farm Economic Association (now called the American Agricultural Economics Association), vice president of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, vice president of the Indiana Academy of Social Sciences, and national president of Alpha Gamma Rho.

Citation

Conn, S. 2008, February. Obituary: Earl Butz, 1909-2008. Purdue Exponent.

Citation

MSO 1, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Oral History Program collection, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Purdue University Office of Publications Oral History Program collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSO 2
Scope and Contents The Purdue Office of Publications Oral History Program collection documents Purdue University history through oral history interviews with Purdue University professors and administrators. Types of materials include: printed material, cassette tapes, reel-to-reel tapes, compact discs, and digital materials. Interview topics include Purdue history and changes in administration and academic departments.