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Honorary doctorate recipient

Edward Rosenthal

Doctor of Science (DSc), 2023
For ethical, future-focused innovation in agriculture

Edward Rosenthal, BA 74, is a shining example of how out-of-this-world business success and environmentally minded innovation can go hand in hand. 

Rosenthal is a graduate of Sir George Williams University, one of Concordia’s founding institutions. With his wife Betty, he founded Florikan ESA (Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture) in 1982, which grew out of the couple’s garage into a thriving agriculture firm in Sarasota, Florida. Over the next 40 years, the company earned more than a dozen major awards for ethical business practice, product innovation, job creation and environmental leadership.

Through Florikan, Rosenthal invented Controlled Release Fertilizer (CRF), a game-changing technology that allows growers to set the exact timing for nutrients to be released onto plants, regardless of external conditions such as cold, heat or even a lack of gravity. In a significant recognition of the technology, CRF received the 2004 National Most Innovative New Product Award from NSPE National Society of Professional Engineers in America.

Rosenthal’s groundbreaking innovations caught the attention of NASA, which helped develop several new versions of the product through its Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program. In 2013, after years of collaborative research, the Space Plant Biology Program at the Kennedy Space Center selected Florikan CRF as the exclusive fertilizer used to grow vegetables on the International Space Station. In 2017, the Space Foundation inducted Rosenthal into the Space Technology Hall of Fame. 

The Rosenthals established the Rosenthal Roots Family Foundation in 2019, which has provided generous support for numerous arts, academic and environmental organizations. In recent years, the foundation has focused its funding on educational and sustainability projects with the Hershorin Schiff Community Day School, a private Jewish day school in Sarasota serving children of all faiths. 

At the ceremony

Edward Rosenthal, BA 74, was granted his Doctorate of Science at the spring 2023 ceremony for the Faculty of Arts and Science. Enjoy the video.

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