Often in life’s special moments, joy and sadness can co-exist in a strange mixture. Such was the case at El Batán on 18 May 2007, when CIMMYT bid formal farewell to retiring Distinguished Scientist, Hugo Córdova. First was a ceremony on the pyramid of the Borlaug Building, in which Hugo received a commemorative plaque from the hands of Director General, Masa Iwanaga. The text recognized his work during 1975-2007, leading to improved maize varieties and hybrids sown on several million hectares in developing countries, and closed with the words: “…through his commitment and advocacy (he) bore witness to the power of crop breeding to significantly improve the food security and livelihoods of developing country farmers.” Highland maize breeder, José Luis Torres, spoke on behalf of support staff, saying that “… all who worked with Hugo Córdova learned something.”
Afterwards the decorous tone turned festive, as staff moved to the Rincón Mexicano for a celebration with snacks, drinks, music, dancing, and camaraderie. Hugo, upon entering, was greeted immediately with the boisterous music of a live Mexican Mariachi band, which played for an hour. Party-goers were next treated to the considerable singing and guitar playing prowess of Maize Program administrator, Marcelo Pérez, with occasional and enthusiastic choruses from those present. The celebration then went on with dance music.
Hugo found the ceremony and festivities impressive and moving. “I want to thank all the directors and management staff, including Masa, Marianne, and Kevin, who have helped and supported me throughout the years to develop technologies that are used world-wide. I also want to recognize the contributions of national programs in this work and, finally, the Center’s support staff, who are the cornerstone of CIMMYT.” We wish you the best always, Hugo!