Texas A&M Science to Induct Two into Academy of Distinguished Former Students
COLLEGE STATION -- Two prominent Texas A&M University former students -- one, a leading expert in statistics, analytics and data mining, and the other, one of the university's own pioneering synthetic organic chemists -- have earned selection by the Texas A&M College of Science for its highest alumni honor, induction into the college's Academy of Distinguished Former Students.
Dr. Jerry L. Oglesby, class of 1971, of Cary, N.C.; and Dr. Daniel Romo, class of 1986, of College Station, will be recognized Thursday (Mar. 22) for their achievements and contributions to their professions, community and causes as part of the college's Spring Recognition and Awards Dinner, to be held at Pebble Creek Country Club in College Station. The college also will recognize its current scholarship recipients along with all of the donors who have established endowed gifts within the college's five departments during the past year.
The Academy was established in 1996 to recognize Aggies who have brought honor to their alma mater and professions through outstanding leadership in mathematics, statistics, the sciences and medicine. Oglesby and Romo join a prestigious list of 39 previous honorees distinguished for their merit and innovative achievements.
"Once again our awardees this year show the variety and strength of our former students," said Dr. H. Joseph Newton. "We are pleased to acknowledge a world-renowned chemist and a statistical leader in the development of analytics and also to have them as our graduates."
Oglesby currently serves as the Senior Director of Global Academic Programs and Global Certification within the Education Division of the world-renowned SAS Institute Inc. He received his doctorate in statistics from Texas A&M in 1971 under the direction of legendary professor Dr. Ronald R. Hocking.
Oglesby 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. 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.
Oglesby's 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.
"Jerry is truly an inspirational individual," said Dr. J. Michael Hardin, professor of statistics and dean of the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration in the Manderson Graduate School of Business at the University of Alabama, who first met Oglesby in 1977 as an undergraduate student during Oglesby's faculty stint at the University of West Florida. "To me, he is the epitome of what we all hope to accomplish as higher educational professionals -- that is, the graduation of students who go out into the world making real differences in the lives of the people, their students and ultimately the company and the country. I believe Jerry has done all of these."
Romo, a 19-year veteran of the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry faculty, initially enrolled at Texas A&M with the goal of becoming an orthodontist, receiving his bachelor of arts in chemistry and biology from Texas A&M in 1986. He earned his doctorate in chemistry from Colorado State in 1991 and then spent two years as an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University before returning to Texas A&M in 1993 as an assistant professor of chemistry, rising through the ranks to associate (1999) and now full professor (2003).
A world-renowned pioneer in the chemical synthesis of natural products and related studies, Romo has devoted the bulk of his Texas A&M career to researching the potential of compounds found in nature, 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 longtime 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. In addition to traditional graduate and postdoctoral researchers, the lab also features undergraduates as part of an innovative "TAMU Undergrad Minipharma" program Romo recently developed in which a handful of undergraduates from diverse disciplines work together to develop drugs in some of the same ways they are developed in industry.
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).
"I see Professor Romo as one of the few young chemists/scientists who define a problem and then design a solution, rather than the reverse," said Prof. Dale L. Boger, Richard and Alice Cramer Professor of Chemistry in The Scripps Research Institute's Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology. "In addition, he is a superb external lecturer, an admirable undergraduate and graduate teacher, well disposed to participate in local and national service, and a superb role model for young scientists."
Members of the Academy receive a commemorative award and have their names inscribed on a perpetual plaque in the College of Science's Dean's Office.
For more information on the Academy and its previous inductees, visit http://www.science.tamu.edu/giving/adfs/.
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The complete list of gifts made to the Texas A&M University College of Science since March 16, 2011, and their purposes is as follows:
-- The Stepheni Crawford and Jack Crawford Fellowship in Science was established in December 2011 by Neil Crawford in memory of his wife, Stepheni, and son, Jack, to provide a single fellowship to a student in good standing pursuing a degree in the College of Science at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Preference will go to female students pursuing astronomy or physics degrees who also are U.S. residents.
-- The William A. Robba Endowment for Graduate Study in Physics was established in March 2011 from the estate of William A. Robba '51 to support students with associated expenses related to achieving advanced degrees within the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Science at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
-- The Martha Lewis Crenan Endowed Scholarship in December 2011 by Patrick B. Ryan ‘80 and Donna Crenan Ryan ‘80 to provide one or more scholarships to full-time students in good academic standing pursuing undergraduate degrees in the College of Science at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
-- The Bruce L. Crumley '70 Professorship was established in January 2012 by Bruce L. Crumley '70 to attract and retain exceptional chemistry faculty members in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Science at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
-- The Bruce L. Crumley '70 Scholarship was established in January 2012 by Bruce L. Crumley '70 to provide two or more scholarships for undergraduate students with financial need pursuing degrees in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Science at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
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