Cardinal Cadence Spring/Summer 2012

Lamar honors Lin as 2012 University Professor

2012 University Professor Jerry Lin and his wife, DebbieLamar University honored JERRY LIN, professor of civil engineering, as the 2012 University Professor, with officials applauding him as a gifted teacher and one of Lamar’s premier researchers who has made a significant mark on the field of environmental science.

The professorship, awarded for life, is the university’s most prestigious faculty award and recognizes an outstanding senior professor for academic excellence. President James Simmons conferred the medallion of University Professor, presented “as a lasting symbol of this high honor and esteemed title” and described as “the pinnacle of academic achievement at our university . . . recognized by all as an emblem of highest merit.”

Lin also becomes the first Ann Die Hasselmo Scholar for the 2012-2013 academic year. The designation honors Lamar’s 1986 Regents’ Professor, who created and funded the Lamar University Faculty Excellence Fund.

“Dr. Lin has demonstrated since his arrival at Lamar in 1999 that he excels in every category of academic and professional achievement,” said Jack Hopper, dean of the College of Engineering. “He is an exceptionally gifted teacher, receiving recognition, year after year, from his students and professional peers . . . His record of funded research is unquestionably one of the best at Lamar . . . (He) is an individual of tireless energy and unwavering commitment to academic excellence.”

Lin is an admired professor who “has been a great role model to our students,” said Robert Yuan, chair of the Department of Civil Engineering. “His energy and enthusiasm are highly addictive, and he is one of the most renowned mercury researchers in the world.”

“I’ve been fortunate to grow as a faculty member at Lamar,” Lin said. “I always felt that this great university offers a great platform that nurtures excellence in academics, scholarship and teaching. If I ever have any contribution to Lamar, I think it is my work in better understanding the impact of human activities to the environment, which shows Lamar’s presence in the global community of environmental research. I am also proud that I was able to motivate our students to pursue careers in environmental engineering.”

Lin holds a bachelor of science degree from Tatung Institute of Technology, a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Duke University and a doctor of philosophy in environmental engineering from The University of Cincinnati. His area of professional interest is the atmospheric transfer of heavy metals, especially mercury. In lay terms, said Stephen Doblin, provost and vice president for academic affairs, he studies the complexities of mercury contamination in the food supply: “how air pollutants end up in the fish we eat.”

Lin has received more than $5.5 million in funded research. Since 2000, he has been principal investigator or co-principal investigator on 55 funded projects. He has published 60 peer-refereed articles – one included among the “25 Hottest Articles” by a leading research journal. Lin’s also earned Lamar’s University Scholar award and the Chi Epsilon James Robbins Excellence in Teaching Award. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) named him an Excellence in Civil Engineering Education Fellow. Lin has served as advisor for Lamar’s ASCE chapter – a group that has won 42 awards since 2000.

Lin is a member of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Advisory Board; an “expert reviewer” of EPA’s mercury exposure models; a review panelist for the National Science Foundation; and a workgroup member of the Texas Mercury-Impaired Water Initiative, among other roles reflecting his expertise.

A commitment to faculty excellence

Alumna Ann Die HasselmoAnn (Hayes) Die Hasselmo ’66, a Lamar University distinguished alumna and a national leader and innovator in higher education, has realized a dream by creating and funding the Lamar University Faculty Excellence Endowment.

Stephen Doblin, provost and vice president for academic affairs, announced the endowment – which he described as “transformative”—at Lamar’s annual university awards ceremony April 11.

“Our ceremony is doubly special because of the generosity of one of our own, the 1986 Lamar Regents’ Professor, Dr. Ann Die Hasselmo,” Doblin said. “Today and henceforth, this ceremony will be underwritten by the endowment, and the university professor title – awarded for life – will also be designated the Ann Die-Hasselmo Faculty Scholar for the subsequent year.”

“As a student, I benefitted from (faculty members) who gave their time to nurture me, to instruct me, to provide mentorship to me,” Hasselmo said. “They are faculty committed to excellence in education, research and student achievement. I believe we all have the obligation and commitment to pass on that which was given to us.”

Hasselmo graduated summa cum laude from Lamar State College of Technology and earned a master’s degree from University of Houston and a doctor of philosophy from Texas A&M University. Her graduate degrees are in counseling psychology, andshe is a licensed psychologist. A faculty member of Lamar during the 1970s and ’80s, Hasselmo received a Regents’ Merit Award, was Faculty Senate president and served as assistant to the executive vice president for academic and student affairs. As one of 29 Fellows of the American Council on Education, she spent the 1986-87 academic year at the College of William and Mary, working with the president and provost on a variety of academic and administrative issues.

Hasselmo later served as dean of H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College and associate provost of Tulane University in New Orleans, then became president of Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. “Hendrix thrived during Ann’s watch, and she grew into one of America’s leading college presidents,” Doblin said.

Hasselmo became managing director of Academic Search Consultation Service in 1992. Today, she is president of the American Academic Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C., a non-profit organization devoted to strengthening academic leadership in all sectors of public and private higher education.

2012 University Merit Awards

Lamar honored three faculty members with 2012 University Merit Awards in recognition of outstanding performance in the classroom.

JOHN ZHANHU GUO, assistant professor of chemical engineering. Bachelor of science, Shandong University; master of science, Beijing University; doctor of philosophy, Louisiana State University, all chemical engineering . . . students joined him in National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported research project on advanced polymer nanocomposites. . . opens his research to student members of American Institute of Chemical Engineers and accompanies them to conferences . . . has pulled almost $1 million in research funding to Lamar, with support from sources such as NSF, Baker-Hughes Corp. and Northrup-Grumman Corp.

“(His) research activity has been nothing short of exceptional . . . His collaboration with industry is notable, and . . . his support from funding agencies, particularly the National Science Foundation, is a strong indicator of the high quality of his research.” — Jack Hopper, dean, College of Engineering

MELISSA RUSHER, assistant professor of deaf studies and deaf education. Bachelor of science in deaf education, The University of Tulsa; master’s and doctoral degrees in deaf studies and deaf education, Lamar . . . a leader in practitioner-researcher-trainer reviews for school districts . . . involved in a multi-university remote tutoring project . . . served on a multi-state master teacher initiative . . . along with colleagues, has received grants totaling more than $5 million . . . panel reviewer and grant evaluator for U.S. Department of Education . . . accreditation team member, Council of Education of the Deaf.

“Dr. Rusher is an active mentor of students . . . active in grant writing . . . active in her disciplinary organizations. Her list of publications is impressive.”

Russ Schultz, dean, College of Fine Arts and Communication.

QIN QIAN, assistant professor of civil engineering. Bachelor of science in geology, Nanjing University; master of science in software engineering, The University of St. Thomas in Minnesota; master’s and Ph.D. in civil engineering, The University of Minnesota . . . Hydrology and environmental engineering are areas of academic expertise . . . has attracted almost $500,000 in research funding . . . reviewer for the National Science Foundation, Texas Department of Transportation and scientific journals.

“With more than 40 years in civil engineering, I have observed the careers of many professors. I can attest that Dr. Qian is truly outstanding in her research, teaching and service.”

Robert Yuanchair of the Department of Civil Engineering

by Louise Wood

May 2012