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LU honors Lin as 2012 University Professor

Lamar 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, said Stephen Doblin, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Jerry LinLamar officials announced Lin’s selection Wednesday (April 11, 2012) during a program in the University Reception Center of the Mary and John Gray Library. 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.”

In addition, Doblin announced the creation and funding of the Lamar University Faculty Excellence Endowment by Ann Die Hasselmo, Lamar’s 1986 Regents’ Professor. Hasselmo was a longtime faculty member whose career path later took her to top university administrative positions and other roles devoted to strengthening academic leadership.

Henceforth, Doblin said, the awards ceremony will be underwritten by the endowment and the University Professor title – most recently accorded to Lin – will also be designated the Ann Die Hasselmo Scholar for the subsequent year.

“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,” Hopper said.

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.”

The 2012 honoree 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, Doblin noted, he studies the complexities of mercury contamination in the food supply: “how air pollutants end up in the fish we eat.”

Best known for his research ideas and initiatives, 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. “These projects and the dollars they bring to Lamar have inspired and financially supported hundreds of students,” Doblin said.

As Yuan noted, Lin is one of the world’s most renowned environmental researchers, “and this is not a hollow boast,” said Doblin. Lin has published 60 peer-refereed articles – one included among the “25 Hottest Articles” by a leading research journal. Lin’s research earned Lin Lamar’s 2008 University Scholar award.

During his career, Lin has taught five undergraduate and 11 graduate courses. He has served in more than 300 graduate committees, directed eight doctoral dissertations and 38 master’s theses. He earned the 2008 Chi Epsilon James Robbins Excellence in Teaching Award, was named a 2003 Excellence in Civil Engineering Education Fellow by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). His students placed second in the 2009 state wastewater-treatment design competition, and he 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; a workgroup member of the Texas Mercury-Impaired Water Initiative; a manuscript reviewer for 16 professional journals; a technical expert for the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Commission on Environment Quality; and an endowed chair holder at South China University of Technology in Guangzhou.

He twice received the University Research Forum Award from the Texas Water Conference; had the highest score in the Professional Engineering licensing examination in the state of Ohio; and received the Gill Master Award for Young investigators. He travels the world sharing his expertise.

In addition, Lin has served on dozens of departmental, college and university committees and councils, including the Faculty Senate, Graduate Council and Distinguished Faculty Lecture Committee. He and his wife, Debbie, have two daughters.

“Dr. Lin has served Lamar extraordinarily well for the past 13 years and had made a significant mark in the discipline of civil engineering and field of environmental science,” Doblin said. “His standard of excellence is apparent throughout the university – in the courses he has taught, the leadership he has provided, the scholarship he has conducted, the funding he has secured, the awards he has received, the international relations he has cultivated and, in big ways and small, the students he has cultivated.”