Market News & Headlines >> Borlaug Goes on View

March 25 would have been Norman Borlaug’s 100th birthday and it will mark the unveiling of his statue in the main hall of the Rotunda of the Capitol Building. He will be the only scientist represented in the Rotunda. His statue, which depicts him in a field of wheat taking notes (see The Brock Report, July 26, 2013) the down-home attitude that Borlaug never lost even as he served as U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (all depicted on the marble base). It also calls attention to agriculture and is garnering plenty of publicity in the context of Ag Day, also March 25. Few others represented can make the claim of saving a billion lives. Borlaug never claimed that either, but he is known worldwide for just that feat, through the wheat he bred that spawned the ‘green revolution.’ 

Each state is allotted two statues. Most still represent people that predated to the 1864 creation of the hall; only five have been switched (Kansas replaced both its statues with Amelia Earhart and Dwight D. Eisenhower; Alabama, California and Michigan have each made one change). Both the state legislature and governor must approve the new choice. Iowa’s original choices were James Harlan and Samuel Kirkwood, two Civil War-era statesmen. Borlaug will be replacing Harlan, who was in a lesser hallway, and now will appear at Iowa Wesleyan College, in Mount Pleasant, where he served as president. The statue of Samuel Kirkwood was moved to the hallway to open the Rotunda spot for Borlaug.

The story of the saga to bestow this honor is quite interesting (see