Welcome from the Dean
At Texas A&M University, "honor" and "duty" might be everyday words, but they certainly shouldn't be mistaken for casual references.
More than a century after being founded as the land-grant institution for Texas, we still consider it an honor to carry out our duty to provide access to affordable education and unbridled opportunity for anyone willing to answer the Aggie call to excellence.
I am pleased to report that the Texas A&M College of Science continues to deliver on its unspoken yet inherent promise to advance discovery and solve real-world problems. In the past year alone, our scientific ingenuity has resulted in hundreds of top-notch graduates and nearly $66 million in sponsored research projects that create new knowledge and drive economies around the world. Those awards only continue to increase, paced in 2010 by several large grants, including three significant at a university level - an $18 million National Institutes of Health Program of Excellence in Nanotechnology (Karen Wooley, chemistry); a $3.5 million National Science Foundation ADVANCE Center (Sherry Yennello, chemistry); and an $8 million NSF award to the Hobby Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (Darren DePoy, physics and astronomy). Our graduate programs continue to gain ground in both quality and national prestige, as evidenced by the most recent annual survey released in 2010 by "U.S. News & World Report:" chemistry (T-19th overall, 8th public); mathematics (T-40th overall, 22nd public); physics (T-40th overall, 20th public); and statistics (T-12th overall, 3rd public). The National Research Council followed suit in the fall, listing mathematics (25th overall, 14th public) and statistics (10th overall) among the country's best.
Our individual teaching, research, and service highlights in 2010 were many and magnified. To name but a representative few in teaching, chemist Wendy Keeney-Kennicutt was named a Piper Professor; astronomer Kevin Krisciunas was one of five U.S. professors honored with the Distinguished New Faculty Award; and two undergraduates, physics/math major Tyler Behm and biology major Abbee Mohan, were named Barry M. Goldwater Scholars.
In research two faculty were cited for top discoveries of 2010 (chemist Marvin Rowe, radiocarbon dating, "Archaeology" magazine; biologist Adam Jones, pipefish reproduction, "Discover" magazine). Other prestigious individual honors included physicist Rupak Mahapatra's Department of Energy Early Career Research Award; mathematician Yalchin Efendiev's Humboldt Foundation Fraunhofer-Bessel Research Award; chemist Paul Cremer's Edith and Peter O'Donnell Award from The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST); and physicist Marlan Scully's Sigma Xi Distinguished Scientist Award.
In service Chemistry and Physics and Astronomy again combined outreach forces to help host a campus-wide satellite event for the inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival. In individual arenas, astronomer Nick Suntzeff was selected as Texas A&M's inaugural Jefferson Science Fellow by the U.S. State Department and also named to three-year term as a vice president of the American Astronomical Association. Chemist John Gladysz earned selection as the first editor-in-chief of a new journal, "Organometallics," while Educational Outreach and Women's Programs Director Nancy Magnussen was honored for a decade of dynamic Science Olympiad service with the event's Heart of Gold Award.
On a campus achievement front, five faculty (Donald Darensbourg, Marcetta Darensbourg, Ronald DeVore, Edward Fry, Frank Raushel) were promoted to distinguished professor, Texas A&M's highest academic rank for faculty. For the fifth consecutive year, a college staff member (in this case, two: Biology's James Hardin and Camilla Sturdivant) received the President's Meritorious Service Award, the university's top recognition for staff excellence. In addition, two associate deans SEC. A. highlights 3 were honored for their exemplary service to students and faculty, respectively: Tim Scott, Robert M. Gates Inspiration Award; Sherry Yennello, Women's Faculty Network Mentor of the Year Award.
In 2010 as in years past, I thank each of you, not only for another year of great achievement, but also for the continued distinction you bring to both Texas A&M University and the College of Science in your efforts to deliver the highest quality of science education, scholarly research, and technical expertise and service to benefit the world.
H Joseph Newton