Award Recognition

July 13, 2020

Richard Fowler received the CFANS 2020 Borealis award. This award recognizes significant contributions made to the Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Science (CFANS) community.

 Dick is a 1967 graduate of Forest Products (now BBE). Shortly after graduation, he was hired as a process engineer  by the Andersen Window Corporation in Bayport, MN and assigned to the chemical processes of painting and wood preservation.  He was instrumental in helping Andersen develop and implement environmental management systems and practices and a keen commitment to environmental management and sustainability that is still in place today. Dick was truly a visionary environmental leader, way ahead of his peers.

Dick was also very actively engaged with the department, working with Andersen management in providing scholarships to forest (bio) products students, that continue to this day. Dick mentioned that "I remember being very impressed with the quality of the students selected - bright, positive people. They were much better students than I was.  I could think of no better way to invest in the future of Minnesota." Now in retirement, Dick and his wife, Mary Fowler, continue to provide scholarship support to undergraduate students. The department and our students are very grateful for their long standing support.


Bruce Johnson received the University of Minnesota Alumni Service Award. This award recognizes the service of a volunteer who has had a major impact on the University, its schools, colleges, departments, or faculty, or to the University of Minnesota Alumni Association (UMAA) or any of its constituent groups. 

Bruce is a 1979 graduate of Forest Products Marketing (now Sustainable Systems Management). He is a forest products industry leader, entrepreneur and a dedicated, tireless contributor to the U of M’s education and research mission. He recently retired as  the president of Viking Forest Products. His service to our program includes being a mentor, donor, advocate, employer and leader.  He has served on the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering Advisory Council for over 20 years and was the Chair, BBE Advisory Board for 6 years.  As an industry leader and successful businessman, he is a passionate and strong advocate for our students and graduates. Bruce has been an exemplary leader in providing outstanding leadership and service to the BBE Advisory Council and Advisory Board. Under his leadership, we were able to expand the membership and participation of industry members in the advisory council.                                                                                                                                                         

Bruce has been a tireless advocate for our programs. He has been a dedicated mentor for our students (more than 25 mentees over the years), both serving as a formal mentor and providing informal mentorship and advice to numerous students. He has also hosted numerous student tours of Viking Forest Products, giving them a chance to envision being part of such an operation in their future career. Under Bruce’s leadership, Viking Forest Products created a college recruitment program that has led to 41 student interns being hired in 23 years from the department’s marketing and management program. In fact, 26 of Viking’s 62 current employees are BBE/SSM alums! In an effort to give back to the program, Bruce worked with Viking Forest Products employees to create an endowment for student scholarships. Thanks to Viking Forest Products and Bruce Johnson, the scholarship endowment continues to support a number of well deserving students over the years.