Jo Luck Speaker for Bumpers Lecture Series

Jo Luck, former president and CEO of Heifer International.
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Jo Luck, former president and CEO of Heifer International.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Jo Luck, the retired president of Heifer International, is the featured speaker for the third annual Dale and Betty Bumpers Distinguished Lecture Series, which is hosted by the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas.

The event, which is co-sponsored this year by the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, is set for 2 p.m. Thursday, April 3, in Old Main’s Giffels Auditorium. The event is free and open to students, faculty and staff. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The mission of Heifer, a nonprofit humanitarian organization, is to work with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth through sustainable practices. Heifer’s goal is to give families a hand-up, not a hand-out, by helping them turn lives of hunger and poverty into self-reliance. Heifer currently provides livestock, trees, seeds and training in environmentally sound agriculture practices to families in more than 50 countries.

Gifts of livestock and training help families improve their nutrition and generate income. Animal donations are “living loans” because in exchange for their livestock and training, families agree to give one of their animal’s offspring to another family in need.

“We are excited and honored to welcome Jo Luck to the Bumpers College for our third annual Dale and Betty Bumpers Distinguished Lecture Series,” said Bumpers Dean Mike Vayda. “She has dedicated her life to fighting world hunger and poverty, and to promoting sustainability. What she was able to accomplish as president of Heifer International is truly inspirational. The goals of our college include improving human health and quality of life, addressing the world's needs in terms of food production, distribution and security, and protecting our environment through sustainable best practices. Ms. Luck has addressed many of the same issues Senator Bumpers and Ms. Betty Bumpers have tackled in their careers.”

Luck served as Heifer’s president and chief executive officer from 1992 to 2010 after working as director of International Programs from 1989 to 1992.

Under Luck’s leadership, Heifer, already a global organization, grew its $7 million budget to more than $130 million, and expanded programs and projects into numerous countries.

“We are happy to partner with the Bumpers College in hosting Jo Luck for this year’s lecture,” said Todd Shields, interim dean of Fulbright College. “Ms. Luck is an inspirational humanitarian who embraces the philosophy of peace through education and understanding championed by Senator Fulbright and Heifer International. Our students and faculty will enjoy learning from her experiences, and we are honored to be part of her visit to campus.”

“We are excited to partner with Fulbright College for this year's lecture,” said Vayda. “Both colleges encourage and give students opportunities to pursue careers in the global marketplace. Hearing from and interacting with Ms. Luck is a great opportunity for all of us to gain insight, and to learn about challengers and successes regarding issues that affect everyone around the world.”

While Luck was president and CEO, Heifer earned many awards, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission’s “Salute to Greatness” in 2003, Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 2004, Sierra Club of Arkansas Conservation Award in 2005, Copernican Award in 2006, Arkansas Press Association Headliner of the Year in 2006, Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2007, Mildred Robbins Leet Award for the Advancement of Women in 2007, National Garden Clubs Award of Excellence in 2007 and the Humanitarian Award from Bon Appétit in 2008.

Individually, Luck was co-recipient of the World Food Prize in 2010 for her work through Heifer to ensure availability and sustainability of food to people in need around the world.

Since 1944, Heifer has helped more than 12 million families in more than 125 countries.

Luck attended Hendrix College and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where she served on the Executive Committee of the Alumni Advisory Board. She received an honorary doctorate of arts and humane letters from the U of A in 2006.

The Tyson Family Foundation and the Tyson Foods Foundation made a gift to help endow the Dale and Betty Bumpers Distinguished Lecture Series, which was launched in April 2012 with a visit from former President Bill Clinton.

The series symbolizes the Bumpers College’s focus on three vital issues: the international prominence of Arkansas agriculture and food industries; the importance of environmental stewardship and sustainability for the strength and vibrancy of our economy; and the quality of life as championed by Betty Bumpers on behalf of child wellness, human development and healthy living choices. The college seeks to advance the business of foods and impact of foods on human health, environmental sustainability and human quality of life.


Curt Rom, horticulture professor
Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sci

Robby Edwards, director of communications
Bumpers College

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