William Ronnie Coffman, PhD

​A trustee since 1995 and trustee emeritus since 2019​, Coffman is the Andrew H. & James S. Tisch Distinguished University Professor, international professor of plant breeding, and director of international programs at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. He is also the principal investigator of the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project, the Delivering Genetic Gain in Wheat Project, the NextGen Cassava Project, and the Agricultural Innovation Partnership. He is the past associate dean for research, director of the Cornell University Agricultural Experimental Station, chair of the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, and plant breeder at the International Rice Research Institute. Coffman’s work has been important to the development of improved rice varieties grown on several million hectares throughout the world. He is the inaugural recipient of the World Agriculture Prize. Coffman is a graduate of the University of Kentucky (BA/BS ’65; MS, agronomy, ’67) and Cornell University (PhD ’71).​​