AAAS Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture

In 2008, the Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation (RMF) made a gift to AAAS to endow a Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture at AAAS in honor of Professor Riley's legacy as a "whole picture" person with a vision for enhancing agriculture through scientific knowledge.

Working in collaboration with the RMF and the World Food Prize Foundation (WFPF) — an organization whose fundamental goal is to support efforts toward an adequate supply and availability of nutritious food for the burgeoning world population in the 21st century —the AAAS Riley Lecture is an important opportunity to explore the environmental and societal challenges facing our planet through the lens of agricultural innovation and its applications in a global context.

"…to promote a broader and more complete understanding of agriculture as the most basic human endeavor and... to enhance agriculture through increased scientific knowledge."

Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation
Charles Valentine Riley Examining an Insect. Undated | Charles Valentine Riley Collection. Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, Maryland.

About Charles Valentine Riley

Charles Valentine Riley was a prominent 19th century entomologist. In 1878, he was appointed to the post of Entomologist to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and was chosen to be the first Curator of Insects for the Smithsonian Institution in 1885. Professor Riley became a member of AAAS in 1868, was elected a Fellow in 1874, and then went on to be the Vice President for the biology section in 1888.

The impact of his work of more than a century ago is still being felt today, not only in the fields of entomology and agriculture but also in other natural sciences. Professor Riley's vision and ability to see the role of agriculture in the productive use of the landscape, as an artistry upon which all society depends, is perhaps his greatest legacy.

For more information, please contact Anne Moraske at or 202-326-6759.


The Lecture is sponsored by the Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation; the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, Economic Research Service, Forest Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture; Mars Incorporated; and Iowa State University.

2016 Lecture

The Role of U.S. Research Universities in Meeting the Global Food Security Challenge

Dr. Randy Woodson

Chancellor of North Carolina State University

By 2050, it is estimated that the world population will be over 9 billion people.  This will require dramatic increases in good proaction and major shifts in food accessibility, both in terms of calories and nutrients.  We are facing limits in natural resources from the water and land needed to produce the food necessary to meet this food security challenge.  Research universities in the United States have a tremendous opportunity to provide both technical solutions as well as the human capital necessary to address the growing challenge of global food security.


Past Lectures

2015 Lecture

A University President’s Perspective on the Economic Importance of Pursuing a Unifying Message to Make Agriculture a National Priority

Dr. Steven Leath
President, Iowa State University


2014 Lecture

A Food and Agricultural Research Agenda to Deal with the Asteroids of the Future

The Honorable Daniel Glickman
Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture


2013 Lecture

Food, Feed and Fuel from Crops under Global Atmospheric Change: Could we have it all in 2030?
Dr. Stephen P. Long
Gutgesell Endowed University Professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences
University of Illinois

2012 Lecture

Why Innovation in Agriculture Matters
Dr. Rob Horsch
Deputy Director for Research & Development
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

2011 Lecture

Tomorrow's Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food
Dr. Pamela C. Ronald
Professor, Department of Plant Pathology
University of California, Davis
Co-author of Tomorrow's Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food

2010 Lecture

Agricultural Research: Changing of the Guard, Guarding the Change
Dr. Roger Beachy
Formerly Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)