Award for Global Engagement

2008 Recipients

John R. Vreyens

Dr. John Vreyens has devoted much of his life to making the world a more equitable and better place. His commitment to international programs comes from his early career experience in the Peace Corps where he spent more than three years in Zaire and Senegal. During that time he came to understand the need to assist the world’s disadvantaged and the rewards that this work brings. He has brought this experience to his leadership as director of international programs in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) where he has increased the global engagement of faculty and staff.

Dr. Vreyens has had a great impact on both domestic and international students. One of his most significant accomplishments has been his contribution to the expansion of U.S. and international student programs through seminars, internships, study abroad, courses, and scholarships. He founded the CFANS International Fellows program, which allows domestic undergraduate students to study in France. He developed and implemented the framework for a two-week international field study seminar for students, which have been held in Russia, Morocco, China, Germany, Argentina, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Thailand, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. Under his leadership, the percentage of CFANS students with international experience has risen significantly.

His assistance to international students and scholars has been invaluable. He has welcomed numerous international students upon their arrival on campus and designed and managed programs that have allowed CFANS faculty to mentor and train international colleagues. As the director for the Minnesota Agricultural Student Trainee (MAST) program, he worked to provide internships, traineeships, and college courses for more than 6,000 international students since its inception. Graduates of this program are now working throughout the world.

His support for students and internationalization extends to the classroom where he has taught courses focused on developing countries and international agriculture. He is a valued mentor to students and advises undergraduates in the International Agriculture Studies minor. He has served on numerous graduate student committees.

Dr. Vreyens represents the University on national and international committees, including serving as the chair of the International Agriculture Section (IAS) of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC). During his tenure as chair, he led the effort to develop a new strategic plan for IAS, which is the guiding document for enhancing the global engagement of land-grant universities. He has brought increased attention to the importance of international programs in colleges of agriculture across the country. Dr. Vreyens has continued his leadership role with NASULGC and its partnership with the Inter University Consortium for Agriculture and Related Sciences in Europe (ICA), with a goal of leading the world toward a better future through agricultural education and research.

Throughout his career, Dr. Vreyens has consistently demonstrated devotion, persistence, and enthusiasm for the field of international agricultural education to the benefit of the University and many others around the world.