CANR dean announces new faculty award

Dean Millenbah announces the CANR Faculty Laureate award, a new dean-level faculty honor, and names inaugural 2023 CANR Faculty Laureates.

Drs. David Ortega and Muhammad Rabnawaz

Dean Kelly F. Millenbah is pleased to announce a new dean’s level faculty award: the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) ­­Faculty Laureate. The Faculty Laureate title is awarded through a non-nomination process at the discretion of the dean and the directors of AgBioResearch and MSU Extension and is jointly funded by the three units.

The dean may choose to award CANR Faculty Laureates to faculty members who have established themselves as intellectual leaders in their fields of scholarship. CANR Faculty Laureates share knowledge in the academic community; expand opportunities for others through mentorship and service; and act as stewards for the college and university. The award can be presented in situations where CANR seeks to reward and retain outstanding junior faculty members.

CANR Faculty Laureate awards provide honorees with 1) $60,000 per year in operating funds for three years and 2) the title of CANR Faculty Laureate for the duration of their careers at CANR. The new Faculty Laureate designation also supports CANR’s goal of recognizing faculty excellence through honorifics, distinguishing CANR’s faculty on campus and to the broader academic community.

The inaugural 2023 College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Faculty Laureate award recipients are:


David Ortega, Ph.D.


David Ortega, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics. Dr. Ortega’s research focuses on understanding consumer, producer and agribusiness decision-making to inform food policies and marketing in the United States and abroad. He has an impressive publication portfolio in high-impact global peer-reviewed journals and is an in-demand expert analyst for prominent media outlets.



Muhammad Rabnawaz, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Packaging. Dr. Rabnawaz’s research in the field of polymer science encompasses sustainable and multifunctional materials. He has authored over 50 refereed research articles in leading scientific journals and holds 30 patents. He was recognized as the MSU Innovation Center’s 2021 Innovator of the Year.


“I’m so pleased to recognize David and Muhammad as the very first CANR Faculty Laureates. Even early in their careers, they have established themselves as phenomenal colleagues and top-notch scholars, and I’m proud that they will carry the title of CANR Faculty Laureate throughout their careers,” said Kelly F. Millenbah, Ph.D., dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.


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