Businessman, philanthropist to receive honorary degree

DUNMORE, Pa. -- A businessman active in politics, philanthropy, agriculture, conservation and photography will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Penn State. The University’s Board of Trustees today (July 13) approved Howard G. Buffett to receive the degree at the 10 a.m. Aug. 11 undergraduate commencement ceremony in the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus.

Buffett manages the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a private philanthropic organization that works to improve the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s most impoverished and marginalized populations. Its primary funding areas are agricultural resource development for small and subsistence farmers, and clean water delivery to vulnerable communities in Africa and South America. He operates and manages more than 1,600 acres of farmland in Nebraska and Illinois and oversees two foundation-operated research farms in Illinois and South America. He has served as commissioner of Douglas County, Neb., as chairman of the Nebraska Ethanol Authority and Development board and on two committees in the Office of the United States Trade Representatives.

Buffett currently serves on various corporate boards including investment holding companies and agricultural manufacturing industries. Previously he served on the boards of Archer Daniels Midland Co., Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. and ConAgra Foods, as well as numerous non-profit boards. His father, Warren Buffett, has announced that he would like his son to succeed him as Berkshire Hathaway’s non-executive chairman.

The younger Buffett’s philanthropic endeavors have not gone unrecognized. In 2000, he received the Aztec Eagle Award, the highest honor bestowed on a foreign citizen by the Mexican government. In 2002 the Inter-American Institute recognized him as one of the most distinguished individuals in the field of agriculture. In 2005, he received the Will Owen Jones Distinguished Journalist of the Year Award and in 2007, he was appointed a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Against Hunger on behalf of the World Food Programme. In 2011, he received the World Ecology Award.

As president of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, he has traveled to more than 95 countries documenting the challenges of preserving biodiversity while providing adequate resources to meet the needs of a growing population. He also has authored seven books on conservation, wildlife and the human condition.

Buffett supports Penn State via projects in the Department of Horticulture.

Last Updated August 15, 2012