Riley Lectures

Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lectures. The Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation (RMF selected the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2008 to receive an endowment to be used to further the goals of RMF and to build on the legacy of Charles Valentine Riley. Concurrently with establishment of the endowment, a collaborative agreement between RMF, AAAS, and the World Food Prize Foundation (WFPF) was signed to implement the intent of the endowment.

The theme of the annual AAAS Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture is “ to promote a broader and more complete understanding of agriculture as the most basic human endeavor and to enhance agriculture through increased scientific knowledge.” Since this theme represents the goal put forth by RMF when it was founded in 1985, the three organizations collaborating to pursue common goals holds much promise for lifting the basic mission of RMF to greater heights.

Collaboration between AAAS, RMF, and WFPF provides a unique opportunity to build upon Charles Valentine Riley’s legacy as a “whole picture” person with a vision for enhancing agriculture through scientific knowledge. Professor Riley’s involvement with AAAS, beginning as a member in 1868, being elected a Fellow in 1874, and serving as Vice President for the biology section in 1888, brings into the perspective his broad view of how science impacts on agriculture when placed in the broadest context.


Previous AAAS Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture Speakers


The 2016 AAAS Riley Lecture was presented on May 23, 2016, by Randy Woodson, Chancellor, North Carolina State University, on “The Role of U.S. Research Universities in Meeting the Global Food Security Challenge.” See proceedings. Watch the lecture. Principle sponsors for the 2016 Riley Lecture were: the Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation, USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture, USDA Agricultural Research Service, USDA Economic Research Service, USDA Forest Service, Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Mars, Inc.

The 2015 AAAS Riley Lecture was presented on June 16, 2015, by Steven Leath, President, Iowa State University, on “A University President’s Perspective on the Economic Importance of Pursuing a Unifying Message to Make Agriculture a National Priority.”

The 2014 AAAS Riley Lecture was presented by The Honorable Daniel Glickman, Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, on  “A Food and Agricultural Research Agenda to Deal with the Asteroids of the Future.”

The 2013 AAAS Riley Lecture  was presented by Dr. Stephen P. Long, Gutgesell Endowed University Professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences University of Illinois, on “Food, Feed and Fuel from Crops under Global Atmospheric Change: Could we have it all in 2030?”

The 2012 AAAS Riley Lecture was presented by Rob Horsch, Deputy Director for Research & Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on June 14 in Washington, DC.

The 2011 Lecture was presented by Pamela C. Roland, Professor of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, on “Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food.”

The 2010 Lecture was presented by Roger Beachy, then Director of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, on “Agricultural Research: Changing of the Guard, Guarding the Change.”

The proceedings for the lectures from 2010 through 2014 are available online at

RMF collaborated with USDA’s National Agricultural Library and Texas A&M University in the conduct of the Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lectures in 2006 and 2008.

The 2008 Lecture was presented by Joachim von Braun, then Director General, International Food Policy Institute, on “Agriculture for Sustainable Economic Development: A Global R&D Initiative to Avoid a Deep and Complex Crisis.”

The 2006 Lecture was presented by Per Pinstrap-Anderson, H.E. Babcock at Cornell University and World Food Prize Laureate on “The Impact of Technology Change in Agriculture on Poverty and Armed Conflict.”