Jacobson named recipient of 2020 Kopp International Achievement Award

March 27, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Michael Jacobson, professor of forest resources in the College of Agricultural Sciences, is the recipient of the 2020 W. LaMarr Kopp International Achievement Award.

Michael Jacobson

Michael Jacobson

IMAGE: Penn State

Established in 1995, the award recognizes faculty members who have contributed significantly to the advancement of the international mission of the University. It is named for the late deputy vice president for international programs.

Jacobson translates 30 years of international work to a higher level of leadership at Penn State, nominators said. His impact is most felt in land- and water-use practices in Africa.

“There is nothing more important and powerful than to give communities the knowledge and resources they need to provide nutritious food, clean water, and affordable and renewable sources of energy,” Jacobson said. “By doing so, we are positioning them to establish thriving markets and stable economies and governments, and that benefits us all.”

In 2018, Jacobson was named the College of Ag’s first Global Faculty Fellow in recognition for his experience, dedication and ability to leverage and improve global engagement across the University.

Jacobson used that platform to lead the Ag2Africa initiative, taking on a leadership role related to the University’s Water Energy Food (WEF) nexus work in Africa.

Jacobson was instrumental in planning a workshop that brought together dozens of leaders from Penn State and 10 African nations. The group was tasked with developing sustainable WEF practices in sub-Saharan Africa, while exploring research, education and outreach programs to improve these efforts.

Those efforts led to a University strategic initiative grant, which Jacobson jointly oversees.

Jacobson also uses his international ties to prepare his students for global challenges. This work happens both in the classroom and through study abroad experiences.

“I want my students to look beyond the corners of their own world,” Jacobson said. “They can learn a great deal from international lessons on natural resources, energy, agroforestry, and how to overcome societal and economic constraints. That knowledge can be leveraged to benefit people around the world, across the United States and right here in Pennsylvania.”

Last Updated March 27, 2020