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Two OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering faculty earn rare national honor

Department Head and Professor Dan Thomas and OSU Regents Professor Glenn Brown were so recognized by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers in 2012.

Oklahoma State University accomplished a rarity in 2012, when two faculty members with the OSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering were named Fellows by their professional organization in the same year.

Department Head and Professor Dan Thomas and OSU Regents Professor Glenn Brown were so recognized by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers in 2012.

“This is a great honor, for the individuals, the department and university; attaining the rank of Fellow is the highest honor presented by organizations of this type, which recognizes exceptional lifetime achievement and advancement of the profession,” said Mike Woods, interim vice president, dean and director of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

Generally, only about 2 percent of an organization’s active membership has achieved the rank of Fellow.

Thomas has long been involved in research and extension programs associated with water quality, drainage, irrigation and precision systems. He is a licensed professional engineer in agricultural engineering, a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a founding diplomat of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers.

“Water use, availability and quality are clearly key issues that affect everyone, encompassing economic, environmental and well-being perspectives,” Woods said. “Citizens of Oklahoma and the region are fortunate to have a professional of Dr. Thomas’ experience, awareness and judgment serving them as part of our OSU family.”

As an administrator, Thomas provides leadership for the planning, development, integration and implementation of the department’s teaching, research, extension and international programs; the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty, staff and students; and the pursuit of external funding for scholarships, fellowships, chairs, professorships, competitive grants, research contracts and donor gifts.

Brown is internationally recognized for his cutting-edge research involving porous media flow, solute transport and groundwater pollution. His recent research involves the design and operation of bio-retention cells for on-site treatment of storm water.

“Dr. Brown has been instrumental in the growth and influence of the Oklahoma Water Research Symposium, which he initiated and chaired for a number of years,” said Mike Langston, assistant director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Center at OSU. “The symposium has merged with the Oklahoma Governor’s Water Conference, one of our state’s key forums on water issues that annually attracts an attendance in excess of 400.”

As an educator, Brown has been an active champion of the university in providing significant international experiences to undergraduate and graduate students. Many of his students have received various university and national awards, including National Science Foundation fellowships.

Though not a DASNR faculty member, Larry Caldwell also was named an ASABE Fellow in 2012. For 41 years, Caldwell served as a Natural Resources Conservation Service watershed specialist headquartered in Stillwater. He worked with many DASNR faculty and staff over the years, providing expertise and insights in the areas of dam safety, rehabilitation of aging dams and emergency action plans for dam failure.

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