Citing her extensive work in impacting the livelihoods of small and family businesses, a committee named Maria Marshall, professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University, as the recipient of the 2017 Corinne Alexander Spirit of the Land-Grant Mission Award.
In addition to introducing challenging and innovative concepts to students during her 15-year career at Purdue, Marshall has raised more than $7 million for her integrated and research program; served as project director for nine state and federally funded grants; published 31 articles in referred journals; made more than 100 presentations to more than 4,000 individuals; and published 17 peer-reviewed Extension publications.
One of her many research projects centered on the differences among businesses that survived and failed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Through her field research, she has regularly introduced innovative strategies to her students and business owners attending Purdue Extension programs.
“It is fitting that Dr. Marshall has received this award,” said Jason Henderson, director of Purdue Extension and associate dean in the College of Agriculture. “She exemplifies the mission of land-grant institutions through her integrative work in educating family business owners through outreach, extensive research on family business management and disaster recovery, and the introduction of innovative concepts in the classroom.”
Marshall’s impact has been far-reaching, noted Karen Plaut, senior associate dean for research and faculty affairs. “Dr. Marshall’s outstanding work in integrated research and outreach, as well as her ability to raise funding and serve in numerous leadership positions, truly represents the spirit of the land-grant mission institutions. Her work is making a difference in the lives of family entrepreneurs throughout Indiana and the nation.”
Marshall, who also serves as the director of the Purdue Initiative for Family Firms (PIFF), will be honored during a ceremony in the fall.
Established in 2008, the Spirit of the Land-Grant Mission Award recognizes a faculty member in the Purdue University Colleges of Agriculture, Health and Human Sciences, or Veterinary Medicine for excellence in integrating and promoting the core missions of teaching, research and extension. In 2016, the award was named in honor of the late Corinne Alexander, a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics who demonstrated excellence in achieving the land-grant college’s three core missions.
In numerous letters of recommendation, Marshall also was recognized for her work in helping small and family-run businesses sustain their operations through tools like MarketMaker, software designed to help set up marketing initiatives, and by supporting programs like Indiana’s Commercial Kitchen Steering Committee, of which she served as a co-chair.
Additionally, Marshall has been member of several state committees with missions to increase diverse and alternative incomes. She served on the Agro-tourism Education, Outreach and Certification Committee and the Indiana Department of Agriculture’s Diversity Committee. She also participated in the Central American Trade Mission with former Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman.
Marshall continues to be sought after for her expertise in entrepreneurship, family business research and disaster recovery. She has contributed her insights to various policy centers and organizations nationwide, including the Research Advisory Council for the National Agricultural and Rural Development Policy Center (NARDeP).
With the award recognition, Marshall will receive a plaque and a $10,000 gift to support her program. She also will receive a $1,500 cash award from the Robert and Zelma Swaim Endowment.