Academy of Distinguished Former Students
Each spring, the College of Science pays tribute to its top former students by conferring upon them its highest honor – induction into the Academy of Distinguished Former Students.
The Academy of Distinguished Former Students was established in October 1996 by the College of Science External Advisory & Development Council to “recognize former students of the College of Science at Texas A&M University who have brought honor to their profession through outstanding leadership in mathematics, statistics, the sciences, and medicine.”
Each year, up to three recipients may be selected on the basis of:
- Contributions to the programs and activities of the Texas A&M College of Science;
- Technical/scientific accomplishments;
- Contributions to their professions, including continuing education and other educational activities.
United States Army
Col. Lesser received his bachelor of science in physics in 1970 and his master of engineering in electrical engineering in 1979, both from Texas A&M University. As an undergraduate, he was in the Corps of Cadets, where he commanded 4th Battalion and was a member of the Ross Volunteers and RV Firing Squad before subsequently being commissioned into the Military Intelligence Branch of the U.S. Army. While at Texas A&M, he also was chairman of the Student Conference on National Affairs. Harry Kay served 26 years in the Army and for the nearly 23 years since has continued his work in the intelligence, technology development, and national security fields. He is a demonstrated, respected expert and leader in information-gathering and intelligence, electronic warfare, strategic planning, and development of new technologies. Col. Lesser’s management leadership in both the military and the private sector put him at the highest echelons of our nation’s preparedness for both offensive and defensive technologies, plus the development of strategic and operational planning methodology and execution. He commanded units at company and battalion level, served as the senior intelligence officer in major tactical units, and completed his active military career as the Director of Science and Technology for lntelligence/G-2 at Headquarters, Department of the Army. Among his awards and decorations are the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Special Forces Tab, and the Senior Parachutist Badge. In the private sector, he continued his national security work with Booz-Allen Hamilton, the Boeing Company, and Lockheed Martin. Col. Lesser’s educational experience expanded beyond Texas A&M. Beginning with the Postgraduate Intelligence Program at the Defense Intelligence School, he continued with the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, a master’s of arts in national security and strategy studies from the U.S. Naval War College, and the Executive Program in Intelligence and Policy at Harvard University. As an adjunct professor, he taught a Cyberterrorism and National Security graduate course for three years at George Washington University. Also, as an instructor at the Defense Leadership and Management Program, he provided lectures on the revolution in military affairs, net assessments, joint-planning processes, and intelligence community organizations and processes. Col. Lesser continues active work through his consulting company, Decide-Detect-Deliver, LLC, and is utilized by our national defense and security organizations through work as an appointed consultant with the Army Science Board (senior scientific advisory body to the U.S. Army) and his work with corporations in the defense industry.
United States Navy/University of South Florida College of Medicine
Dr. Richter received his bachelor of science in zoology from Texas A&M University in 1970 and Doctor of Medicine from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in 1975, both with high honors. A veteran of the United States Navy (1975-1982), he completed his internship at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Philadelphia, then went on to complete his residency in medicine and a fellowship in gastroenterology at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Since 2011, Richter has served as the Hugh Culverhouse Endowed Chair and Professor of Esophagology, director of the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, and director of the Joy McCann Culverhouse Center for Swallowing Disorders at the University of South Florida College of Medicine. Richter has dedicated his academic career to taking care of patients with complex swallowing and esophageal diseases, educating medical professionals about these diseases and performing clinical research. In the latter area, he has published more than 300 original research reports in peer-reviewed journals, in addition to 121 editorials or reviews, 11 books, and 109 book chapters. He is recognized internationally as an expert in diseases of the esophagus and is especially well known for his research in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), esophageal motility disorders, achalasia, and non-cardiac chest pain. His numerous seminal reports on the therapy of GERD alone has strongly influenced the practice of medicine in the United States and abroad. Richter has delivered lectures and conducted workshops both nationally and internationally on endoscopic techniques related to the esophagus. Among his past academic appointments, Richter was chairman of the Department of Gastroenterology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation-Ohio for 10 years as well as chairman of medicine at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia for seven years. A past president of the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) from 1994 to 1995, he also served as director of the ACG Institute for Clinical Research and Education from 1995 to 2004. An elected member of the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (2007), Richter has received several awards for his work in digestive diseases, including the ACG’s Berk/Fise Lifetime Clinical Achievement Award (2007), the Joseph B. Kirsner Award in Gastroenterology (2000), the Janssen Award in Gastroenterology for Clinical Research in Digestive Diseases (2001), and The Samuel Weiss Award for Outstanding Service to the ACG (2001). From 2002 to 2003, Richter served as president of the World Organization for Specialized Studies on Diseases of the Esophagus. He was co-editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Gastroenterology from 2003 to 2009 and has been listed in Best Doctors in America for Gastroenterology multiple times.
Texas A&M College of Medicine/Texas A&M Health Science Center
Dr. Byington received her bachelor of science in biology from Texas A&M University in 1985 and Doctor of Medicine from Baylor College of Medicine in 1989, both with honors. She trained in pediatrics at Texas Children's Hospital and in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of California, San Francisco, and holds board certification and national recognition in both general pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases. Since 2017, Byington has served as Dean of the Texas A&M College of Medicine, Senior Vice President of the Texas A&M University Health Science Center, and Vice Chancellor for Health Services at The Texas A&M University System. She is the first Mexican American female to hold the position of dean and senior vice president for an academic medical center in the United States. Prior to returning to Texas A&M, Byington spent 21 years at the University of Utah, where she was the H.A. and Edna Benning Presidential Professor of Pediatrics, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs and Faculty Development in the School of Medicine, and Associate Vice President for Faculty and Academic Affairs at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center. A federally funded investigator with continuous support as principal or co-investigator totaling about $80 million since 1998, her research spans the translational spectrum from basic laboratory science to health services research and has focused primarily on bacterial and viral respiratory pathogens in children. Among other accomplishments, Byington's scholarship has led to the co-invention of FilmArray, a novel diagnostic platform for the identification of infectious pathogens and antimicrobial resistance with BioFire Diagnostics of Salt Lake City, later acquired by bioMérieux. Currently used in hospitals across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, FilmArray has changed the landscape for infectious diseases diagnostics and research. Byington's research background in translational science also led to the development of the Utah Center for Clinical and Translational Science, a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical and Translational Science Award national consortium since 2008. She also co-founded the South Main Clinic at the University of Utah, which serves the most at-risk populations in Salt Lake County and has won national awards for care delivery. In 2017, Byington was elected into both the National Academy of Medicine and as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. A nationally renowned physician scientist, she has received awards from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the NIH. Byington currently serves as Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases, which prepares all policies related to pediatric infectious diseases and vaccines and produces the Red Book -- a resource used by pediatricians around the world in the treatment of childhood infectious diseases.
(El Paso, TX)
University of Texas at El Paso
Dr. López received his Ph.D. in physics in 1986 from Texas A&M University, graduating with highest honors and earning the Best Thesis Award. A native of Monterrey, Mexico, he grew up in the Juarez/El Paso area and earned both bachelor's and master's of science degrees in physics at the University of Texas at El Paso, where he has served since 2001 as Rho Sigma Tau-Robert L. Schumaker Professor of Physics. Following postdoctoral stints at the Niels Bohr Institute and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, López spent a year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo prior to returning in 1990 to his alma mater. He rose through the academic ranks to become a full professor in 2000 and also has served as an Assistant Dean in the College of Science (1999-2001) and as Chair of the Department of Physics (2001-2008). López was responsible for reconstructing the department, hiring 11 new faculty in a four-year period and establishing bridge positions with national laboratories and observatories. He also diversified the unit, substantially increasing the number of Hispanic and female faculty and taking it into new research areas, including astronomy and medical physics. López's own research spans the gamut of nuclear physics, gravitational waves, astrophysics, physics education, pre-K science teaching, materials science, and applications of scientific methods to social sciences, including political science, anthropology, and cultural heritage. He has had collaborations with researchers in Berkeley, Buenos Aires, and several institutions in Mexico and has written five books and more than 100 journal publications and conference proceedings. In addition, he has taught 23 different physics courses at all levels, earning a 2016 University of Texas System Board of Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award. A Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), López is founder and a former president of the National Society of Hispanic Physicists as well as a past chair of both the APS Committee on Minorities and the Texas Section of APS. He also has served on numerous boards and committees for the National Science Foundation and NASA. Inducted into the Mexican Academy of Science as a corresponding member in 2012, López was instrumental in initiating the Latin American Symposium on Nuclear Physics and Applications and in founding the Division of Radiation Physics of the Mexican Society of Physics. Throughout his career, he has been a leader in outreach activities, particularly those favoring Hispanics. His many honors include the 2015 APS Bouchet Award, the 2014 APS Division of Nuclear Physics Mentoring Award, the Texas Section of the APS' 2009 Hyer Award, the MAES Latinos in Science and Engineering's 2010 Outstanding MAEStro Award, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers' 2011 Educator of the Year Award.
(College Station, TX)
TEES Commercialization & Entrepreneurship Division
Dr. Beckerdite received his bachelor of science in chemistry in 1976 and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1983 from Texas A&M University, spending time during the years in between with the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) Food Protein Research and Development Group. He currently serves as an Entrepreneur in Residence within TEES' Commercialization and Entrepreneurship division, where he heads the Intellectual Property Group and aids in the evaluation of new technologies. In addition, he is a longtime member of and a past chair of the College of Science External Advisory and Development Council. After earning his Ph.D., Beckerdite joined The Dow Chemical Company, holding a variety of leadership positions in research and development and participating in the commercialization of a number of new products during his 27-year career there. He also served as the Senior Intellectual Capital Leader for Dow's Performance Materials division. In his business roles, Beckerdite led R&D for the combined $3 billion Amines and Oxygenated Solvents businesses. While serving in this capacity, he identified and championed a process-improvement program that de-bottlenecked a facility producing a key Dow product. In addition to significantly increasing the production rates for this sold-out product, this improvement eliminated the need for a significant planned capital project. In 2013, Beckerdite joined chemical-based self-heating products manufacturer Exothermix as their Chief Technology Officer. While at Exothermix, he outlined and implemented a strategy for protecting several core technologies in the areas of thermoformable polymers and selective management of gas transport across films. Beckerdite also is founder of P&N Technology Consulting, which provides intellectual property services in the natural sciences. Successful programs have included intellectual property carve-out for a $1 billion divesture, and analysis and recommendations for downstream opportunities in bio-based chemicals. Beckerdite holds 12 patents across a variety of application spaces, including compositions of matter for novel thermoplastic polymers, a new synthetic route to epoxy resins, products for minimizing crack formation in concrete, and materials for shale inhibition in the drilling industry. He also has pending patent applications related to the use of thermoformable polymers for the medical industry.
Dr. Fredeen received a Ph.D. in analytical/inorganic chemistry in 1986 from Texas A&M University under the supervision of Professor of Chemistry David H. Russell after earning her bachelor of arts in chemistry in 1981 from McMurry College in Abilene, Texas. Since 2013, she has served as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Rider University, where she leads the development and implementation of the vision and long-range strategic planning for the university's Academic Affairs division, including Student Affairs. During her Texas A&M days as a member of the Russell Laboratory from 1981 to 1985, Fredeen firmly established herself as the go-to person from whom all others sought advice and information while ultimately carrying out a challenging and highly creative research project that resulted in three articles in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the premier chemistry journal worldwide. After completing her Ph.D., Fredeen joined Southern Connecticut State University in 1987 as an assistant professor of chemistry. Within four years, she was promoted and tenured, and then three years later, she became Chairperson of the Department of Chemistry. During her four-year tenure, she championed the effort to obtain ACS accreditation for the department's undergraduate program and instituted the first program assessment process while also doubling the size of the budget. In 1998, Fredeen was appointed Interim Dean and subsequently Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. She served 12 years as Dean, overseeing 22 departments and five interdisciplinary programs, more than 600 full- and part-time faculty, and a budget of $40 million before moving to Rider in 2013. Fredeen is renowned, both as a Dean at SCSU and as a Provost at Rider, as a model of leadership in STEM education on both institutional and individual levels. During her 30 years thus far in academia, she has demonstrated an unparalleled dedication to science education reform and leadership models in higher education, particularly those that address change leadership and student success.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Morris received both his master's of science and Ph.D. in statistics in 1997 and 2000, respectively, from Texas A&M University under the direction of Distinguished Professor of Statistics Dr. Raymond J. Carroll and Professor of Statistics Naisyin Wang. Since 2000, Morris has been a professor of biostatistics at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He was appointed as Del and Dennis McCarthy Distinguished Professor in 2016 and has served as Deputy Chair in the Department of Biostatistics since 2011. An internationally recognized expert in biostatistics, Morris has collaborated with numerous investigators at MD Anderson and across the world who are involved in gastrointestinal cancer research, especially hepatocellular carcinoma and colorectal cancer, with multiple federal grants and senior author publications in cancer journals in these areas. These collaborations have included designing numerous clinical trials, as well as collaborating on projects involving biomarker discovery, carcinogenesis, epidemiology, prevention, preclinical, and retrospective and prospective clinical studies, some involving complex, high-dimensional genomics data. As part of this work, Morris is co-developer of a new clinical prognostic staging system for hepatocellular carcinoma and also a co-author on the seminal Nature Medicine paper (Guinney et al. 2015) presenting consensus molecular subtypes of colorectal cancer that promise to redefine how colorectal cancer patients are classified and treated. Morris currently co-directs MD Anderson's Colorectal Cancer Moon Shot to provide a deep molecular characterization of these subtypes, to develop a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified clinical classifier to assign patients to these subtypes, and to discover and test novel therapeutic targets for these subtypes. In addition, he is actively involved in a joint graduate program in statistics between MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Texas A&M College of Science. Thus far in his relatively young career, Morris' many prestigious honors and awards already include the Myrto Lefkopoulou Distinguished Lectureship at Harvard University, Fellow of the American Statistical Association, and the American Statistical Association Noether Young Investigator Award, as well as Texas A&M Statistics' 2009 H.O. Hartley Award. His exemplary expertise and exceptional leadership have helped paved the way for many statistical breakthroughs contributing across multiple scientific disciplines, industries, and areas, including health sciences research.
(Oklahoma City, OK)
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
Dr. Prescott received a bachelor of science in biology and chemistry in 1970 from Texas A&M University, as well as an M.D. in medicine in 1973 from Baylor College of Medicine prior to completing his training in internal medicine at the University of Utah. Since 2006, he has served as president of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF). A leader in studies of the basic mechanisms of human disease, Prescott came to OMRF from the University of Utah, where he founded the Eccles Program in Human and Molecular Biology & Genetics and was executive director of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. At OMRF, he has led a $100 million effort to fund the largest campus expansion in the foundation's history. The centerpiece is OMRF's research tower, a 186,000-square-foot, gold-level-LEED-certified facility where physicians in OMRF's Multiple Sclerosis Center of Excellence treat more than 2,000 MS patients while exploring new avenues of clinical research. The MS Center is part of OMRF's Autoimmune Disease Institute recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as one of 10 Autoimmunity Centers of Excellence in the U.S. Under Prescott's leadership, The Scientist magazine has repeatedly recognized OMRF as one of its "Best Places to Work" in academia and for postdoctoral fellows. Two OMRF medications also have received FDA approval. Prior to joining the Utah faculty in 1982, Prescott did his advanced research training at Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis). In addition to being a professor of internal medicine at Utah, he held the H.A. & Edna Benning Presidential Endowed Chair, authoring more than 250 scientific articles and training 40 research students and postdoctoral fellows. Prescott served as a senior editor of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and Journal of Clinical Investigation and on NIH, American Heart Association, and American Cancer Society advisory committees. He has been elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of American Physicians, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, and the Royal Academy of Medicine in Spain. He has received many scientific awards and is the founder of LineaGen, a biotechnology company.
Dean Emeritus of Science / Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, Clemson University
Dr. Wixson received a Ph.D. in aquatic biology in 1966 from Texas A&M University after earning both his bachelor's of science in geology and and master's of science in biology in 1960 and 1961, respectively, from Sul Ross State University, where he is a distinguished alumnus. During a 30-year academic career spanning two universities, his research focused on industrial and aquatic industrial waste pollution control, environmental effects of trace metals, solid and hazardous waste disposal, and development of international programs in science, education, and water-quality improvement. He conducted extensive studies on lead and other trace metals in the Lead Belt of Missouri as a faculty member from 1967 to 1987 at the University of Missouri-Rolla (formerly Missouri School of Mines). From 1987 to 1996, he served as dean of the College of Sciences at Clemson University. Wixson is Dean Emeritus of Science and Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at Clemson, as well as Professor Emeritus of Environmental Health in the Department of Civil Engineering and Dean Emeritus of International Programs at Missouri-Rolla. He is the author, co-author, or editor of eight books, 11 chapters in books, and nearly 150 publications concerned with heavy metals in the environment, aquatic pollution, hazardous waste management, and the development of cleanup standards for lead and heavy metal-contaminated sites. A board member since 1996 for the James River Basin Partnership, a citizens' action group for upper White River Drainage Basin, Wixson was part of the 1999 State of Missouri Task Force that recommended phosphorus limitations for point sources in Southwest Missouri. He boasts extensive service on a host of national and international committees, including as a U.S. Department of State Scholar-Diplomat in Technology, Environmental, and Scientific Affairs; two terms on the National Academy of Sciences' Geochemical Environment in Relation to Health and Disease Committee and as a reviewer/consultant for the National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, United Nations Environmental Program, and other agencies and industries. His many honors include the State of Brazil's Gold Medal for Inter-American Partners Programs in 1980.
Dr. Xu received his Ph.D. in biology in 1993 from Texas A&M University after earning his bachelor's and master's of science degrees in biology from Peking University. Widely respected as one of China's most influential entrepreneurs and investors, he is co-founder of Baidu, the world's largest Chinese search engine, as well as founder and chairman of YIFANG Ventures, an asset management and venture capital company based in both Beijing and Singapore. A Rockefeller Foundation fellow (1990-1993) while at Texas A&M, Xu created some of the world's first transgenic rice plants for his studies on the regulation of gene expression. He was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley (1994-1996) prior to moving into biotechnology start-ups in the Silicon Valley and eventually into similar ventures in China. Xu currently serves as a board member for several technology start-up companies in China and the U.S. In 2015, he honored his Texas A&M mentor, the late Distinguished Professor of Biology Timothy C. Hall, by making the lead gift to establish the Timothy C. Hall-Heep Foundation Distinguished Faculty Chair in Biology that will support visiting Texas A&M Institute for Advanced Study (TIAS) scholars in the field of plant molecular biology. Xu also is founder and chairman of three family philanthropic organizations that support non-profit research dedicated to inspiring policy change and/or adjustment. Each is based on the premise of promoting social equality, supporting public philanthropy, and promoting the development of positive and sustainable welfare organizations and projects.
Dr. Ballinger received a bachelor of science in zoology in 1983 and a master of science in wildlife and fisheries sciences in 1987 from Texas A&M University, as well as a Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1993 from Emory University. After postdoctoral training at the University of Vermont as a Department of Energy Alexander Hollaender Distinguished Fellow (1994-1996), he accepted his first faculty appointment as an assistant professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston (UTMB). Since 2002, he has been a professor of pathology in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. There, he serves as co-director of the National Institutes of Health-funded Pre-Doctoral Training Program in Cardiovascular Pathophysiology, as director of the Bioanalytical Redox Biology core funded through the NIH-supported Diabetes Research Center at UAB, is the primary investigator for multiple NIH-sponsored grants, and serves as a regular NIH study section member. Ballinger, who continually has been funded by the NIH since 1998, is known for his innovative thinking and out-of-the-box concepts regarding mitochondrial biology, evolution, and the basis for disease development. His dissertation work under his Ph.D. mentor, Dr. Douglas C. Wallace, was among the first to note a connection between mitochondrial genetics and diabetes. As a young faculty member, first at UTMB and then at UAB, his research group and collaborators were among the first to note a connection between cardiovascular disease and increased mitochondrial damage. Later, his group showed that developmental exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke increased adult cardiovascular disease risk, which was linked to mitochondrial damage and function. More recently, he is exploring the genetic basis of common disease susceptibility by proposing the new concept that "Mito-Mendelian" genetics influence cellular and metabolic responses to environmental factors, which play a role in dictating genetic risk for most forms of common disease.
Dr. Gibbs received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1954 and a master's degree in mathematics in 1960 from Texas A&M University before earning a Ph.D. in 1968 from Rice University. He was hired by Shell after graduation but soon was drafted into the U.S. Army. After military service, he returned to Shell and spent a year on assignment in Midland before heading to Texas A&M to get his master's degree through the G.I. Bill. Shell Development later hired him as a production engineering researcher in Houston, where he developed wave equation diagnostic and design methods for rod-pumped wells now used worldwide. During this period, he also served as head of drilling research while simultaneously earning his Ph.D. at Rice. He became Division Engineer in New Orleans but soon left to enter private business, co-founding Midland-based Nabla Corp., which rendered well-site diagnostic analyses, under license from Shell, using truck-borne mini-computers. Nabla's product line grew to include design and diagnosis of hydraulic and submersible pump systems, technical training, related software and subsequent oil-field equipment, including digital dynamometers, pump-off controls and fluid level instruments. Nabla existed for 26 years until it sold to Lufkin Industries in 1997. Gibbs' patent on downhole card control of pumping wells was used by Lufkin to create the SAM Well Manager, the world's bestselling control device for rod-pumped wells. A member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers since 1962, the Permian Basin Petroleum Pioneers and the Lufkin High School Hall of Honor, his many awards include Texas Tech University's J. C. Slonneger Award (1987) and Duane A. Crawford Service Award (1996), election to the SPE Permian Basin Section Hall of Fame (1992), the SPE International Production Engineering Award (2001), induction into the Midland Petroleum Museum's Petroleum Hall of Fame (2011), the Permian Basin Petroleum Pioneers' Pioneering Technology Award (2013) and designation as an SPE Legend of Artificial Lift (2014). In retirement, Gibbs authored a textbook, ROD PUMPING: Modern Methods of Design, Diagnosis and Surveillance.
(Fort Detrick, MD)
Dr. Patel received a bachelor of science in biochemistry in 1996 and his Ph.D. in biology in 2006 from Texas A&M University. A respected leader in plant biology and the biodefense sector, he currently serves as a Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) subject matter expert and lead trainer for diagnostic and capacity building in the Former Soviet Union, Africa and the Middle East. Last fall, he assisted in mobilizing and setting up the first U.S. Navy mobile labs to help combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. As a member of the first team deployed into Liberia, he established important relationships with doctors and healthcare workers on the front lines of the global crisis as well as protocols to process blood samples containing the Ebola virus, improving treatment and ensuring both safety and faster diagnosis. Patel's pioneering career has covered the spectrum of academic, military, and civilian service, beginning with a 10-year stint as a graduate research assistant studying Arabidopsis with Professor Tom McKnight in the Texas A&M Department of Biology. He joined the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) in 2006 as branch chief of the molecular and genomics department. Within three years, he modernized the Air Force Proficiency Program, a cornerstone of Home Station Medical Response-Laboratory Biological Detection Teams, thereby ensuring the Air Force's constant readiness to accurately identify the presence of bio-warfare agents. Patel also helped transform and advance diagnostic capabilities for the detection of dangerous pathogens, helping to manage four bio-defense projects valued at more than $7.5 million that were integral to maintaining a superior quality program and a unique asset in the nation's growing preparedness for biological and chemical terrorism. Later as a postdoctoral researcher at the newly constructed North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) in Kannapolis, he helped established a state-of-the-art, multi-million plant biology laboratory at the Plants for Human Health Institute (PHHI). His leadership and experience allowed the lab to quickly start working on problems to elucidate plant responses to abiotic and biotic stress, resulting in five publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He collaborated with colleagues at North Carolina State University to sequence and annotate the genome of blueberry, an important fruit known for its antioxidant phytochemicals that can help prevent disease and improve health.
(College Station, TX)
Central Texas Cardiovascular Surgery
Dr. Hansen received his bachelor of science in zoology from Texas A&M University in 1971 and his master of business administration in 2002. He is a board certified cardiovascular surgeon with more than 30 years of experience in treating venous disease -- an extensive career during which he has performed more than 7,000 cardiovascular procedures, including the first implantation of a Jarvik artificial heart in the state of Texas in 1987. At Texas A&M, Hansen was a member of the Corps of Cadets (Battalion Commander his senior year), the Ross Volunteers, and the RV Firing Squad. He completed medical school at Texas Tech University School of Medicine in 1975, graduating at the top of his class, then trained four years under legendary cardiovascular surgeon and childhood hero Dr. Michael E. DeBakey in general and vascular surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. Hansen subsequently completed a residency in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga. He returned to Aggieland in 2007 and founded his own College Station-based practice, Central Texas Vein Center in 2008. He continues to teach as a clinical professor of surgery at the Texas A&M University Health Science Center and The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He is a charter member of the International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery as well as several prestigious surgical societies, and he currently serves as president and chief executive officer of Central Texas Cardiovascular Surgery. An active former student, Hansen is a past president of The Association of Former Students (1990), as well as a former seven-year Trustee of the Texas A&M Foundation and an Endowed 12th Man Foundation Member. He has donated pillars at both the Jon L. Hagler Center and the Clayton W. Williams Jr. Alumni Center, which also features the Hansen Fountain that memorializes and honors his parents. In addition, he is a member of The Association's Endowed Century Club program.
(Fort Detrick, MD)
Lt. Col. Kennedy received his master of science in microbiology from Texas A&M University in 2005 under the research mentorship of biologist Wayne Versaw for his thesis on signaling pathways in the model fungus Neurospora crassa. A 1998 distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Commissioned Officer Training Program, he currently serves as a Medical Intelligence Analyst at the National Center for Medical Intelligence, Health Infrastructure, Sciences and Systems Division, where his primary area of responsibility is assessing foreign military and civilian medical capabilities, including treatment facilities, medical personnel, and emergency/disaster response and medical/pharmaceutical industries. He also has been active in assessing the development of foreign medical countermeasures and diagnostics against/for diseases of importance to national security. Throughout a remarkable military career that has included pioneering stints with Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) and Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), among other units, Kennedy has made significant contributions to the medical laboratory profession as well as the Department of Defense's (DoD) clinical research, testing, and evaluation of weapons of mass destruction. His clinical practices have set bench marks adopted by medical treatment facilities worldwide. Kennedy was hand-selected to mold significant DoD programs, such as the Joint Program Executive Office/Chemical Biological Defense-Critical Reagent Program's Genomic Repository and the DTRA's Chemical Biological Directorate Basic Research Portfolio for Medical Countermeasures to counter traditional and emerging chemical threats. His efforts in cultivating these initiatives spanning 30 projects valued at more than $10 million and resulting in standardized genetic material for more than 200 different biological pathogens culminated in him twice being awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the third-highest award bestowed by the DoD upon members of the United States military. In his current position, Kennedy already has been lauded for diagnostic/treatment assessments of ricin, prompting Office of Secretary of Defense policy changes. During his prolific career, he has served his country in numerous positions, such as Laboratory Flight Commander, Chief of Molecular Biology Branch, Chief of Science Operations, National Laboratory Technical Program Fellow and Science & Technology Manager.
Dr. Stern received his bachelor of science in mathematics from Texas A&M University in 1980 and his doctorate in mathematics from Princeton University in 1984. He joined the Duke University faculty in 1985 as an assistant professor of mathematics and has spent his entire career there, earning promotion to associate professor in 1988 and then to full professor in 1992. He has made fundamental contributions to geometric analysis and mathematical physics, and his work has appeared in many of the world's top journals for both mathematics and physics. A capable administrator as well, Stern has served as both associate department chair and department chair in mathematics. Stern is widely respected for his willingness and ability to tackle difficult mathematical problems and for creating a broad-based research program at Duke that exhibits remarkable depth, originality and technical prowess. His National Science Foundation-funded work encompasses a unique blend of differential and algebraic geometry as well as quantum field theory and string theory -- a rich mix with primary application to mathematical physics. Perhaps his most celebrated accomplishment to date is his proof (joint with Leslie D. Saper) of the Zucker conjecture concerning locally symmetric spaces -- a class of spaces important in many parts of mathematics -- and a central question about its topology, a branch of geometry that deals with robust properties of a space and how to detect them. In the past 15 years, Stern has turned his attention to geometric problems arising in physics, ranging from harmonic theory to string theory and supersymmetry. He has been recognized with both a Sloan Fellowship (1990-92) and a Presidential Young Investigator Award (1989-94).
National Tsing Hua University
Dr. Liaw received his doctorate in chemistry from Texas A&M University in 1989 under the research mentorship of Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Dr. Marcetta Y. Darensbourg. A full professor since 1993, he is one of the leading inorganic chemists in his native Taiwan and an influential leader in the Taiwan academic community who is credited with developing the country's current culture of scientific research and proliferating a thriving Aggie community there in the process. Since 2002, Liaw has served as a professor of chemistry at National Tsing Hua University. He was appointed as a distinguished professor of chemistry in 2007 and as chairman of the Department of Chemistry last fall. For the past three years, Liaw also has been Director General of the Department of Natural Sciences, National Science Council of the Republic of China (Taiwan), the organization charged with formulating science policy in Taiwan and overseeing research funding across the natural sciences. As a chemist, Liaw is a pioneer in the synthesis of iron-sulfur compounds that serve as mimetics and the overall study of nitrogen oxide when bound to iron. He has authored more than 80 manuscripts in rigorously peer-reviewed, high-impact journals and mentored more than 20 Ph.D. and 50 master's of science students as independent scientists.
Dr. Lukin received his doctorate in physics from Texas A&M University in 1998 under the supervision of Distinguished Professor of Physics Dr. Marlan O. Scully. In 2001 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Theoretical Atomic and Molecular Physics at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, he joined the physics faculty at Harvard University. Three years later, he earned tenure, becoming a full professor at the age of 33 in less time than it took him to receive a Ph.D. Building on pioneering concepts he was first exposed to while at Texas A&M, Lukin and his colleagues stunned the world by stopping and storing pulses of light, making artificial atoms behave in new and fascinating ways, and doing engineering with individual quanta of light and matter -- breakthroughs that span the gamut of fundamental science and practical engineering. During the past decade, he has emerged as a central figure for an exciting scientific enterprise that has branched out from slow and trapped light to include sensing and spectroscopy as well as generation of novel quantum states of matter and entanglement -- developments that are central in exploring the next frontiers of quantum engineering of quantum science, engineering and information processing.
Powell Industries Inc.
Mr. Powell received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Texas A&M University in 1962. After working two years for Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Powell returned to his family's small Houston-based business and founded two subsequent corporations that he later merged to create Powell Industries Inc., an international leader in engineering solutions to manage complex, critical processes that control power, water, wastewater, transportation, and petrochemicals. He served nearly two decades as chief executive officer and chairman of the company, renowned by its 50th anniversary in 1997 as a publicly traded global leader in arc-resistant technology and electrical-voltage-regulation devices, retiring in 2012 as chairman of the board. In 2007, Powell created two major opportunities for faculty at his alma mater, establishing $1 million endowed chairs in both mathematics and marine engineering technology in an ongoing effort to achieve another of his lifelong ambitions -- closer ties between the main university and its maritime campus in Galveston. A former member of the Texas A&M-Galveston Board of Visitors, Powell recently was honored as the namesake of the campus' new Engineering Technology Building. In addition, he is active in a variety of community and civic causes, including past and current service on a number of area boards and committees.
Dr. Ward received his Bachelor of Science in Physics from Texas A&M University in 1965 and a doctorate in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University in 1974. After a postdoctoral stint at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in protein crystallography, he served eight years on the chemistry faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, where his laboratory was the first to port high-performance molecular modeling software to an IBM mainframe and to prepare high-quality single crystals of the green fluorescent protein (GFP). Ward then returned to NRL, where his research team paved the way for a better understanding of the structural mechanisms involved in marine bioluminescent proteins, snake-venom toxins, and enzymes isolated from squid that can efficiently degrade chemical warfare agents. In 1995, he joined the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and demonstrated for the first time the efficacy of detecting and locating unexploded ordinance in shoreline waters using chemical sensors as payloads in small autonomous underwater vehicles. He also began a continuing tenure as technical adviser to the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, which provides improved equipment for Navy Seals. In 2003, Ward became the first program manager in the Department of Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA), eventually heading the branch developing next-generation chemical and biological sensors to protect U.S. population centers. Ward was appointed in 2010 as Senior Science Adviser to the FBI Laboratory, where he led efforts to better transition basic research to meet specific FBI forensics requirements. He has received a Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award (ONR, 2003) and the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Senior Professional (DHS, 2008). Since retiring in 2011 after 27 years of federal service, Ward is an affiliate faculty member at George Mason University and also serves on the steering committee of the Northern Virginia AAAS/SSE STEM Volunteer Program that coordinates placement of retired technical professionals to assist public K-12 science teachers.
SAS Institute, Inc.
Oglesby received his doctorate in statistics from Texas A&M University in 1971 under the direction of legendary professor Dr. Ronald R. Hocking. Oglesby currently works for SAS Institute Inc. as the Senior Director of Global Academic Programs and Global Certification within the Education Division. He began his career as a statistician with the University of West Florida, where he served 13 years as both an assistant and associate professor of statistics. In addition, he was founder and chief executive officer of SCI Data Systems Inc. from 1978-89 and, before joining SAS in 1996, he also worked for Monsanto Chemical Company as plant statistician. In his prior role at SAS as Director of Analytical Consulting within the Professional Services Division, he grew his department from its formation to roughly 40 modelers and business analysts whose primary function was to provide analytical support and expertise to SAS's sales force and customers. His current departments are charged with supporting SAS in the academic community and SAS certification worldwide. One of their major goals is the introduction of SAS training materials, SAS certification, and software in the course curricula across many units within universities. In addition, Oglesby serves on several advisory boards in support of statistics, computer science, and data mining, including five years on the Center for the Management of Information Systems Board in the Department of Information and Operations Management at the Texas A&M Mays Business School. He also serves as co-chair for several of SAS Education's data mining, forecasting, and discovery conferences.
(College Station, TX)
Texas A&M University
Romo received his bachelor of arts in chemistry and biology from Texas A&M University in 1986 and his doctorate in chemistry from Colorado State in 1991. After two years as an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University, he joined the Texas A&M faculty as an assistant professor of chemistry in 1993. A world-renowned pioneer in the chemical synthesis of natural products and related studies, Romo has spent nearly 20 years researching the potential of compounds found in marine species, such as sponges, by synthesizing them in the laboratory in order to exploit their utility in basic studies of human cell biology and as lead compounds for drug development. His career efforts to enable discoveries at the chemistry-biology interface were rewarded in 2011, when he was appointed as the inaugural director of the Natural Products LINCHPIN Laboratory, a collaborative center that enables chemists to work with biologists to address issues of human disease. Romo's many honors include a National Institutes of Health Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award (2009), Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Awards in Research (university-level, 2011) and Teaching (college-level, 2009), a Texas A&M Office of Technology Commercialization Excellence in Innovation Award (2008), a Pfizer Award for Creativity in Organic Synthesis (2001-03), the Novartis Chemistry Lectureship (2001-02), a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (1999), a Zeneca Excellence in Chemistry Award (1999), an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (1998) and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (1996).
The Robert Cizik Eye Clinic
Ruiz, whose research and practical focus is age-related macular degeneration and ocular melanoma, is a partner in The Robert Cizik Eye Clinic (formerly Hermann Eye Center). In addition, he has served more than three decades on the faculty at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, where he is professor and chairman emeritus of The Richard S. Ruiz Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science. Ruiz studied two years at Texas A&M in the early 1950s toward a bachelors of science in biology at Texas A&M (awarded in August 2010) prior to leaving in 1953 to pursue a medical degree at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, which he received in 1957. After completing a yearlong post-graduate internship at Hermann Hospital (1957-58) and three years of residency with the Kresge Eye Institute at Wayne State University and the City of Detroit Receiving Hospital (1958-61), he spent one year at Harvard Medical School on a Retina Foundation Fellowship with the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (1961-62) before being certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology in 1963. Prior to joining the UTMS-Houston faculty as a clinical professor in 1971, Ruiz held academic and/or surgical appointments at several of the state's most prominent healthcare institutions, including UTMB-Galveston (1964-79), Baylor College of Medicine (1964-75), and M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Center (1964-83). He was chief of ophthalmology at Memorial Hermann Hospital for 40 years and St. Joseph's Hospital for 15 years. A longtime advocate of local community support, Ruiz founded the Hermann Eye Fund in the early 1970s to provide medical care for indigent persons. In addition, he has been a visiting professor at many additional institutions nationwide. A prolific researcher, Ruiz has delivered more than 250 presentations across the nation and world and published nearly 100 articles during his career. In addition he has served as a United States Public Health Service Hospital Consultant and on two different panels for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. No stranger to former student recognition, he previously has been honored with distinguished alumnus awards from both UTMB-Galveston (1988) and the Kresge Eye Institute (2001). He also is deeply involved in the Houston community through his work with the Assistance League; Women's Fund for Health, Education and Research; Texas Commission for the Blind; Downtown YMCA; and Museum of Health and Science.
University of Missouri
Named the 24th president of Texas A&M University on February 12, 2010, Dr. R. Bowen Loftin has had a distinguished career in higher education. He graduated a year early from Texas A&M in1970 with a bachelors in physics and continued studying physics until he earned his master's and Ph.D. degrees from Rice University in 1973 and 1975, respectively. For nearly 20 years, Loftin and his students explored three-dimensional computer graphics to the development of training and visualization systems. Loftin as a professor in and chair of the Department of Computer Science and the director of the NASA Virtual Environments Research Institute at the University of Houston. He next served as professor of electrical and computer engineering and professor of computer science at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. from 2000 to 2005, where he also served as director of simulation programs and executive director of the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center. In 2005, he accepted the position of Vice President and Chief Executive Officer at Texas A&M University of Galveston, where he continued as professor of maritime systems engineering, before assuming the role of interim president of the College Station campus in June 2009. Loftin has been recognized with numerous awards for his work in education including the University of Houston-Downtown Awards for Excellence in Teaching and in Service (twice), the American Association of Artificial Intelligence Award for the innovative application of artificial intelligence, NASA's Public Service Medal, and the 1995 NASA Invention of the Year Award. The author and co-author of more than 100 technical publications, Loftin remains to this day a frequent consultant to both industry and government in the areas of modeling and simulation, advanced training technologies and scientific/engineering data visualization.
Texas A&M Health Science Center
In addition to serving as co-director of the Rural and Community Health Institute and Institute for Healthcare Evaluation as well as Quality, Patient Safety Initiatives, in the Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, Dr. Williams is also an associate professor of internal medicine and family and community medicine in the Texas A&M University System. After obtaining her R.N. and B.S., Dr. Williams continued to earn her M.D. at the University of Texas Medical School and her Masters of Medical Management at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Gastroenterology Association and the American Society of Internal Medicine/American College of Physicians. She sits on the Board of Trustees of the Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement and the American College of Medical Quality, on the Board of Commissioners for the Joint Commission, and on the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Physician Enhancement. Moreover, Dr. Williams is the Immediate Past President of the Texas Medical Association. Dr. Williams has received many honors, including the Texas A&M University Distinguished Alumnus Award and the Texas Medical Association-Medical Student Section C. Frank Webber, M.D. Award in 2002. In addition to sitting on the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Medical Quality and the Journal of Patient Safety, she has spoken at numerous invited presentations and authored many published articles and abstracts.
Boston University School of Medicine
Chi-Cheng Huang graduated magna cum laude from Texas A&M University with a degree in biology in 1993. With a deep-rooted interest in pediatrics, he continued his education at Harvard Medical School in Boston, where he earned a degree in medicine, cum laude, in 1998. Dr. Huang divided his time between residency training in the Harvard Combined Internal Medical/Pediatric Program and diligently working to improve the plight of impoverished street children in developing countries throughout the Americas and Europe by providing much needed medical care. He founded Kaya Children International in 1997. Kaya is a non-profit organization dedicated to nurturing and sheltering underprivileged street children. He also is a co-founder of three different homes in La Paz, Bolivia, for the young homeless. In 2006, Dr. Huang published a book based on his experiences in Bolivia, When Invisible Children Sing, which received the coveted ”Starred Review“ by Publishers Weekly. He completed his residency training in 2002. Today, Huang is an assistant professor in pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, where he is the director of in-patient services for pediatrics, an internal medicine hospitalist and director of the pediatric global health initiative at Boston Medical Center. He also continues his tireless efforts to help less fortunate children.
One of the first women admitted to Texas A&M University for full-time study, Sallie Sheppard earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from Texas A&M in 1965 and in 1967, respectively. She received her doctorate in computer science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1977 after serving three years as a graduate teaching assistant at Pitt, from 1972 to 1975, and a year as an assistant professor of computer science at State University of New York from 1971 to 1972. Dr. Sheppard returned to Texas A&M in 1977 as an assistant professor of computer science and spent the next 20 years teaching full-time and working in administration. Sallie was the associate provost for honors programs and undergraduate studies from 1987-1991 and the associate provost for undergraduate programs and academic services from 1991-1998. She earned the Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching in 1985 and for Administration in 1998. Dr. Sheppard helped establish the Texas A&M Women's Faculty Network, an organization dedicated to enhancing professional development and career opportunities for its members. From 2001 to 2005, Sheppard served in many administrative positions at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, establishing the framework for its academic administration and UAE accreditation.
(San Antonio, TX)
Elmendorf received his bachelor of arts in science from Texas A&M University in 1944 and his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School at Galveston in 1946. After a yearlong surgical internship at Henry Ford Hospital and three years studying radiology at Brooke Army Medical Center, he completed his residency at Gaston Hospital, passing his radiology board exams in 1951. In addition to his respected abilities as a physician, Elmendorf is legend for his tireless efforts in technological innovation and medical education. As longtime chief of radiology for Baptist Hospital and what later became the Baptist Memorial Hospital System (BMHS) from 1959-1988, he spearheaded its pioneering efforts in both equipment and staffing, establishing the hospital as the first in the region to offer many state-of-the-art X-ray services, including CAT scans in the mid-1970s. In 1972 Elmendorf was named chief of staff, a capacity in which he oversaw three hospitals in the BMHS. For 31 years, he also mentored the residency program for radiologists and X-ray technicians. Although retired since 1988, he pursued his lifelong dedication to education, taking courses and fulfilling educational requirements to maintain his medical license. In 2006 his children established the Hugo F. Elmendorf, Jr., M.D. '44 Lifelines Scholarship in his honor.
Mr. Moses received his bachelor of science in physics in 1949 from Texas A&M University, where he was a member of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and A Troop Cavalry. He immediately put his Aggie education to good use with Core Laboratories Inc., where he used the oil fields of Texas and Louisiana as a springboard to a distinguished career as an international industry expert in the behavior of oilfield hydrocarbons at extreme conditions. While at Core Labs, Moses designed much of the equipment used to study these behaviors, at the same time overseeing its laboratories in most oil- and gas-producing areas of the free world. In addition to serving as an expert witness in litigation before state regulatory bodies and in civil courts, Moses has lectured extensively in countries throughout North and South America, Europe and the Middle East. He also has contributed to many papers in petroleum engineering literature and was a member of the industry advisory board for the Petroleum Department at Marietta College in Ohio. He and his wife, Doris, recently created the Doris R. and Phillip L. Moses '49 Endowed Fund in Physics through their estate to provide funds to support Texas A&M graduate and undergraduate students pursuing degrees in physics.
(College Station, TX)
Texas A&M University
Dr. Speed received his doctorate in statistics from Texas A&M University in 1969. After rising through the ranks to professor at Louisiana State University in 1979, he spent the next 10 years running family businesses in Corpus Christi in oil, real estate and shrimping. After taking each to new heights, he left the business world in 1991 to return to academia at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi as founding director of the Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science and holder of the Conrad Blucher Chair. Three years later, Speed joined the faculty at Texas A&M, where he amassed a reputation as an international authority in a wide variety of areas, including regression analysis, the nature of the Laguna Madre of Texas, remote sensing of data from the Gulf of Mexico, the use of technology in the classroom and distance education. A past member of the College of Science External Advisory & Development Council, he currently serves as Associate Dean for Technology-Mediated Instruction and Distance Education. Mike Speed is known far and wide as a man to turn to for help by students, faculty, government officials, and others in a wide variety of problems and situations.
Arseven Consulting, Inc.
Ersen Arseven received his doctorate in statistics from Texas A&M University in 1974. Since 2002, he has served as director of pre-clinical statistics at Schering-Plough Research Institute in Kenilworth, New Jersey. His 33-year career as a statistician has included stints with American Cyanamid Corporation (1974-84) and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals (1984-92), as well as 10 years in private practice as the founder of his own company offering statistical services and consulting to the pharmaceutical industry. In 2003 Arseven received the H.O. Hartley Award, given annually to a former student of the Texas A&M Department of Statistics in recognition of distinguished service to the discipline of statistics. A generous supporter of his Department, College and University, Arseven has established three endowments at Texas A&M in memory of his late wife, Susan M. Arseven, one of which honors her as namesake of the Susan M. Arseven '75 Conference for Women in Science & Engineering, hosted annually by the College of Science, and provides two $1,000 awards for female graduate students pursuing master's or doctoral degrees in science, engineering or technology.
(College Station, TX)
Texas A&M University
Dr. Duller received his bachelor's of science from Texas A&M University in 1948, followed by a master's of arts and doctorate from Rice University. Five decades after beginning his professorial career as a member of the Texas A&M Physics faculty, he continues to stand as one of the university's most prominent testaments to the importance and value of quality teaching. A natural instructor who says he was attracted to physics largely because of the abundance of challenging teaching material it supplies, Dr. Duller is revered both for his lively classroom manner, known to include spontaneous singing, and his devotion to his students, who have 24-hour access to his counsel via his home phone number. Among students and colleagues alike, Dr. Duller is legendary for his uncanny ability to communicate complex ideas very clearly, his determination to find innovative ways to enrich the educational experience, and his passion for continually developing up-to-date course materials to best prepare his students in constantly evolving fields. At 83, the three-time Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching recipient shows no signs of slowing down, continuing to teach three undergraduate physics courses and inspire untold numbers of Aggies along the way.
A member of the first generation of women admitted to the university, she graduated at the top of her class with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and served as president of the first university women's organization. That early pioneering spirit served her well during the next three decades, in which she founded a nationally recognized software corporation, Dynamic Energy Systems, Inc. - honored in 2005 as one of the top 100 fastest-growing Aggie-owned businesses worldwide - and helped husband Jack '71 launch countless other entrepreneurial ventures. She was inducted into the College of Science Academy of Distinguished Former Students in 2007.
Lyons & Plackemeir
A successful Galveston area attorney and businessman, Mr. Lyons is the principal owner of Sean Lion Technology Inc. and Texas Molecular Limited Partnerships and a former managing partner of Lyons & Plackemeier. He is described as a clear and critical thinker who is vitally interested in promoting science and higher education, as evidenced by his recent commitment to fund the first endowed chair in the Texas A&M University Department of Biology and his longtime leadership in biological research in the Gulf of Mexico through A&M's Galveston campus. Mr. Lyons also is a generous contributor to Texas A&M Athletics and to scholarships benefiting high school students in the Texas City/Galveston area.
Since earning her Ph.D. in physics from Texas A&M in 1990, Simon-Gillo has distinguished herself as an accomplished researcher and science administrator. She currently serves as the director of the Division of Facilities and Project Management in the Office of Nuclear Physics in the United States Department of Energy. As such, Simon-Gillo oversees a budget of more than $30 million per year and handles all capital and new construction projects, effectively setting the nation's nuclear physics priorities while ensuring that it has the research capabilities to remain at the forefront of global science. Prior to joining the DOE in 2001, she was a staff physicist/group leader at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she participated in high-energy nuclear physics experiments at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
(San Antonio, TX)
Alamo ENT Associates
An accomplished physician and educator, Gordon earned his bachelor of science in zoology from Texas A&M in 1967 before receiving his medical degree and specialty training in otolaryngology from Baylor University. As a student at Texas A&M, he served as junior class president and was honored as the Outstanding Pre-Medical Student for 1966. In 1977, Gordon founded his own private practice, Alamo ENT Associates, in San Antonio, where he is also a clinical associate professor of surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center.
University of Delaware
Since earning a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Texas A&M in 1990, Riordan has built a reputation as one of the leading inorganic-organometallic chemists of his generation -- and with the prime of his career still ahead of him. In 2002, he became one of the youngest research-oriented chemistry department heads nationwide, earning unanimous selection as chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Delaware after only five years on faculty. Prior to that, he spent four years on faculty at Kansas State University (1993-97) and two years completing post-doctoral work in the famed laboratories of National Academy of Sciences member Dr. Jack Halpern at the University of Chicago (1990-92). Riordan's accomplishments have earned him recognition from both scholarly organizations and colleagues worldwide. He and his research group have accounted for many firsts in bioinorganic chemistry, as evidenced by his five-year National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award and recent election by his peers as chair of the Bioinorganic Subdivision of the American Chemical Society. An in-demand speaker and author, Riordan has made presentations at both industrial research laboratories and the most prestigious academic institutions in the country as well as published extensively in many of the world's most rigorous and prestigious research journals. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemists, Phi Lambda Upsilon, Sigma Xi and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
UT School of Medicine
Currently a clinical professor of medicine and Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at UT Health Science Center Medical School in Houston. Dr. Clifton is also director of Mission Connect which focuses on spinal cord injury and nerve regeneration.
Dr. Hairston completed his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1971 and joined Dow Chemical Company. During his 32-year career he developed 25 patents, implemented many successful business plans, and served as an inspiration to those around him.
(Los Alamos, NM)
Dr. Katz is recognized for her leadership in the Division of Nuclear Materials Technology at the Los Alamos National Laboratories where her significant contributions to basic and applied research on the actinide elements and compounds have led to several laboratory awards.
As a scientist, administrator and university leader, Dr. Smith has provided exceptional service to the state of Texas and the higher education system. His commitment to Texas A&M makes him a role model for all graduates.
UT Southwestern Medical Center
As professor emeritus of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Dr. Walker has been honored around the globe and saved countless lives through improved trauma care and injury prevention initiatives.
University of South Carolina
Dr. Carpenter, who assumed the role of dean of the university (Sumter campus) in 1993, is recognized for leading its growth in performance and scope. 'He has led the faculty and staff to academic and educational excellence,' said Major Gen. Thomas R. Olsen, retired, of Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter. The Sumter campus of the University of South Carolina consistently earns the highest South Carolina Performance Funding performance ratings for administration, management and student success among regional campuses, said the general (who is a Texas A&M graduate himself). Carpenter earned undergraduate degrees in English and mathematics at Texas A&M, before he received a master's in educational administration from the university in 1974. A member of Texas A&M's famed Corps of Cadets, he served the Army as a combat infantry leader in Vietnam.
(Little Rock, AR)
Dr. Kodell is an expert in using statistics to assess health risks. Recognized by peers as one of the world's leading researchers in statistical methods for toxicology, he helped develop procedures that are widely used in the pharmaceutical industry and that provide the basis for cancer risk estimates used by the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. Kodell is director of the division of biometry and risk assessment at the National Center for Toxicological Research at Jefferson, Ark. He earned his Ph.D. in statistics at Texas A&M in 1974.
(San Jose, CA)
Dr. Charles Munnerlyn of Santa Clara, Calif. A key innovator in laser eye surgery, Munnerlyn designed and built the first excimer laser system for vision correction and founded VISX Inc., the leading manufacturer of laser-vision correction systems in the United States. 'His work has had an incredible, revolutionary impact on the lives of millions,' Professor Roland Allen of Texas A&M's Department of Physics said in his nomination. Munnerlyn, a physics major, graduated from Texas A&M in 1962 before going on to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester.
(San Antonio, TX)
Adams & Associates
Jim earned a degree in mathematics at Texas A&M (1961), an MBA from UT Austin and served two years in the US Army Signal Corps. His work life has been in the telecommunications and high technology industries, eventually serving as President and CEO of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company and later as Chairman of Texas Instruments. He has served on numerous corporate boards and the boards of many non-profit organizations dedicated to education and religious objectives. He has a special interest in higher education for first generation college students. He also serves on advisory boards at UT Austin and Baylor University.
(College Station, TX)
Texas A&M University
Carl M. Pearcy, a professor of mathematics at Texas A&M since 1990, boasts an impressive career in academia that spans more than 40 years and three institutions. Since earning bachelor's and master's degrees from Texas A&M, Pearcy has taught mathematics at A&M, Rice University and the University of Michigan, where he holds the title of professor emeritus. As a faculty member, he has directed the dissertations of 27 doctoral students. Pearcy, who has received funding support from the National Science Foundation every year from 1964 to 1997, has written six books, including two nearing completion. In addition, he has published more than 100 mathematical papers in the areas of functional analysis and numerical analysis.
(The Woodlands, TX)
SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc.
As a chemistry graduate student at Texas A&M in 1973, Jan Troup founded Molecular Structure Corporation (MSC), the world's first company specializing in single crystal X-ray diffraction, the most powerful laboratory tool available to view new molecules at the atomic level. After selling MSC to the Japan-based Rigaku Corporation in 1996, Troup founded Aquavit Inc., a manufacturer of scuba diving products, including the U.S.-patented X-tra System, a self-rescue system for divers. In September 2001, Troup incorporated LipidLabs Inc., a startup company that commercializes technology licensed from Texas A&M University.
(College Station, TX)
Former Director of Business Development in TAMUS' Office of Technology Commercialization, he is a consultant in chemical R&D management, intellectual property development, and chemical industry relationships. He retired from Dow Chemical Company as a R&D Director and also spent three years at Los Alamos National Lab as an industrial staff member and chemical industry liaison. He holds a B.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry from Texas A&M University.
After receiving bachelor's and doctorate degrees in chemistry from Texas A&M, Homer L. Pearce joined Eli Lilly Laboratories in 1979, where he currently serves as vice president of cancer research and clinical investigation. His most significant accomplishments including leading the development of important clinically utilized drugs for the treatment of life-threatening cancers. In addition, Pearce's graduate work at Harvard - the total synthesis of picrotoxinin, which was considered to be an impossible problem by none other than the scientist who originally decoded the structure of the picrotoxinin family - remains one of the landmark achievements in the area of natural products total synthesis. What makes it even more remarkable is that it was a feat he accomplished single-handedly.
(College Station, TX)
Texas A&M University
William B. Smith joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1967, the same year he received his doctorate in statistics. In the 33 years since, Smith has developed a career that epitomizes success in every dimension of academic leadership. Revered as a stellar researcher, teacher, administrator and colleague, Smith and his service to Texas A&M and the statistics community has brought tremendous recognition to the College of Science. A past executive association dean of the College, he is a Fellow and a former executive director of the American Statistical Association, the nation's leading statistical society. Smith is a past recipient of the ASA's Don Owen Award, which recognizes excellence in research, statistical consultation and service to the statistical community. In addition, he is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. Smith currently serves as editor-in-chief of 'Communications in Statistics' and as a program director for the National Science Foundation.
(College Station, TX)
Texas A&M Foundation
Don decided in Fall 2001 to devote his full-time efforts to fundraising and stewardship for the College of Science. Don received both his bachelor's (1970) and master's degrees (1971) in chemistry from Texas A&M. After serving three years as an officer in the U.S. Navy, he joined The Dow Chemical Company. During a successful career with Dow that spanned 27 years, Don held several positions in plastics research and development, manufacturing and human resources. His research resulted in 12 U.S. patents and the discovery of linear low density polyethylene, that was recognized with an Industrial Research IR-100 award and is now one of Dow's largest sales volume products.
James H. Matis received his doctorate in statistics from Texas A&M in 1970 and joined the faculty in the Department of Statistics that same year. Over the past 30 years, he has forged an award-winning teaching career as well as an internationally renowned research record in compartment modeling and ecological and environmental system modeling. The successful combination has resulted in numerous awards, including a Distinguished Statistical Ecologist Award, an Association of Former Students' Distinguished Research Award, an AFS Distinguished Teaching Award and an Honored Alumni Award from the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at Brigham Young University. A Fellow of the American Statistical Association, Matis also is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. He is a past recipient of the ASA's Don Owen Award, which recognizes excellence in research, statistical consultation and service to the statistical community.
Allen M. Hermann, a physics professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder who holds a doctorate in physics from Texas A&M, was honored for his role in the discovery of materials that led to the development of batteries now used in heart pacemakers. His most notable success, helping develop a new class of high transition temperature superconductors based on thallium, earned him global recognition and induction as a fellow into the American Physical Society.
Institute for Research, Inc.
Benjamin Mosier, president of the Institute for Research, Inc. and Encap, Inc., multidisciplinary research organizations, has been active in R&D for major institutions world-wide for more than 50 years and has over 50 patents to his name. He has been awarded 6 NASA Space Act Awards for work and patented inventions for the U.S. Space Program including developing the first bio-potential electrodes for monitoring the astronaut's several hundred different compounds including pharmaceuticals, plastics, petroleum and agricultural related compounds. Mosier holds a bachelor's and master's degree in chemistry from Texas A&M and a Ph.D from the University of Illinois.
Keiyu Ueno is president of Dojindo Laboratories in Kumamoto, Japan, where he has been involved in industrial research. Ueno began his professional career with Dojindo as a research chemist in 1972. In a span of 12 years, he rose from research chemist to president of the company, which was founded by his grandfather as a pharmacy in the early 1900s. Today, Dojindo manufactures more than 800 products commonly used in chemical and biochemical research. The company is highly regarded as a state-of-the art specialty chemical company as well as for its excellence in research. Ueno, who holds a doctorate in chemistry from Texas A&M, was honored as Texas A&M's Outstanding International Alumnus Award in 2000. He has published 19 research papers in scientific journals and served as a visiting professor at Kumamoto University, Kumamoto Prefectural University and Kyushu University.
Arizona State University
Donald Huffman, a Regents Professor of Physics at the University of Arizona, was honored for his role in the discovery of new processes for isolating fullerenes, which is one of the three forms of carbon. His work also has earned him the Material Research Society Medal and the Hewlett-Packard Europhysics Prize. Huffman holds a bachelor's degree in physics from Texas A&M.
George McLendon, holder of the Russell Wellman Moore Professorship at Princeton University, is chairman of the school's chemistry department. He has received several awards for his work with heme proteins and electron transfer reactions, including the American Chemical Society (ACS) Eli Lilly Award in Biochemistry and the ACS Award in Pure Chemistry. McLendon holds a doctorate in chemistry from Texas A&M.
Kenneth G. Davenport received a doctorate in chemistry from Texas A&M in 1982 and began his professional career with Celanese Chemical Co. in Corpus Christi. A major focus of his research has been developing new oxidation chemistry and catalysts for commodity and specialty chemicals. Davenport lectures widely at major universities in the United States and Europe and has been an active participant and plenary lecturer at national and international meetings. In 1991, he received the Leon Starr Award, Hoechst Celanese's highest worldwide award for technical excellence.
Richard H. Harrison received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M in biology and chemistry in 1947 and attended medical school at Baylor College of Medicine. While at Texas A&M, he was on the Corps staff, a member of the Ross Volunteers, a distinguished student seven semesters and elected to the Scholarship Honor Society. At Baylor, he was elected a member of the Osler Society, and the Texas Medical Association elected him an Honorary Member in 1991. He completed a rotating internship at Jefferson Davis Hospital in Houston and a rotating residency in urology at Baylor. Prior to his death in 2005, Harrison had been in practice as a urologist in Bryan for more than 30 years. In addition, he had written articles for medical journals and more popular medical magazines, created audiovisual aids and conducted continuing education short courses for medical professionals. A Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M, Harrison has served on the Association of Former Students Board of Directors and was a clinical professor in the Texas A&M College of Medicine. In addition, he was a former member of the President's Council, the Chancellor's Century Council and the Texas A&M Research Foundation.
Michael H. Kutner, who received his doctorate in statistics from Texas A&M in 1971, now chairs the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Before that, he was on the faculty of Emory University. Kutner is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA) and is the author of approximately 135 research articles in refereed journals and coauthor of a widely used statistics textbook. In 1991, he was one of four statisticians to receive the ASA's Founding Award.