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Montana Tech to Award First-Ever Chancellor's Medallions


Montana Tech Chancellor Don Blackketter will award two Chancellor’s Medallions at this year’s Commencement Ceremony on May 18, 2013. This will be the first-time Montana Tech will award a Chancellor’s Medallion, which is given at the sole discretion of the Chancellor to recognize an alumnus who has excelled in both their educational and professional careers. The award recipients will have earned at least one degree from Montana Tech and will have made significant academic related contributions including professional publications, holding faculty positions, advising graduate students, and participating in academic research.

The two alumni to receive the Chancellor’s medallions are: Dr. Joseph E. Cavanaugh and Dr. Lee W. Saperstein. “I am pleased to award the first Chancellor’s Medallions to Joe and Lee,” explained Chancellor Don Blackketter. “They have dedicated their careers to academia and we are proud to call them Montana Tech alumni.”

Biographies of the award winners follow:

Dr. Joseph E. Cavanaugh
B.S. Computer Science 1986
B.S. Mathematics 1986
M.S. Statistics 1988, Montana State University
Ph.D. Statistics 1993, University of California, Davis

Joseph E. (“Joe”) Cavanaugh received a B.S. in Computer Science and a B.S. in Mathematics from Montana Tech in 1986. He was Valedictorian of the 1986 graduating class, and earned the award for Highest Scholastic Standing in the Arts and Sciences. He received his M.S. in Statistics from Montana State University in 1988, and his Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of California, Davis, in 1993. From 1993 to 2003, he was on the faculty of the Department of Statistics at the University of Missouri – Columbia. He is currently Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Iowa, where he has worked since 2003. He holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science.

Dr. Cavanaugh has published 84 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 37 of which feature methodological research contributions to statistics and biostatistics. He has published extensively in the areas of model selection and time series analysis. His applied, interdisciplinary research contributions span a wide range of fields, including cardiology, critical care, dentistry, ergonomics, gerontology, health services utilization, hospice care, hospital epidemiology, immunology, infectious diseases, injury prevention, oncology, periodontology, pharmacy, psychiatry, psychology, pulmonary care, and sports medicine. Joe is a sought after research lecturer and is regularly invited to speak at conferences and universities. He is recognized world-wide for his research contributions in the fields of Time Series Analysis, State-Space Modeling and Modeling Diagnostics.

Dr. Cavanaugh is considered an exceptional mentor by his peers and has supervised 11 doctoral dissertations and 30 master’s projects. He has received several awards for teaching and mentoring, including the William T. Kemper Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching at the University of Missouri (in 2000), and the College of Public Health Faculty Teaching Award at the University of Iowa (in 2006).

Dr. Lee W. Saperstein
B.S. Mining Engineering 1964, Montana School of Mines (Montana Tech)
PhD Engineering Science 1967 Oxford University – Rhodes Scholar
Montana Tech Distinguished Alumni Award 1990

Lee W. Saperstein, a native of New York City, is Dean Emeritus of the School of Mines and Metallurgy and Professor Emeritus of Mining Engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla, UMR. He was a faculty member in mining engineering at Penn State from 1967 to 1987 and for the following six years at the University of Kentucky where he was also Chair of the Department of Mining Engineering.  While at Kentucky, he participated in an interim management team for the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research where he was Assistant Director for Clean Coal Fuels. Since retiring in 2006, Lee serves on several national and local advisory committees. 

Lee’s research specialization has been in environmental engineering of mines.  He has supervised Master’s and Ph.D. students, published papers, proceedings articles, book chapters, and informal articles on this subject.  He created Penn State’s first surface-mining design course and has taught courses in senior design, explosives engineering, erosion and sediment control, and reclamation engineering.  Lee has also supervised training programs for miners including health and safety training and job-skills training. 

Completing 23 years of service to the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), Lee was name a Fellow of ABET and received the Linton E Grinter Distinguished Service Award, ABET’s highest award. Within ABET, Lee served on the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC).  As an EAC Commissioner, he led evaluation teams to 13 universities, and as an officer he edited the reports of 75 more.  As Chair of the committee, Lee worked with 96 institutions.  Prior to being EAC Chair, he chaired the ABET Criteria Committee when it devised the concept of “engineering topics” and wrote the first references to “program objectives” and “outcome assessments.”   He most recently served as Chair of the ad hoc Task Force on Governance, which has delivered a new Constitution, Bylaws, and Rules of Procedure to ABET. 

Other activities include the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers’ Educational Advisory Board, the American Society for Engineering Education’s Engineering Deans Council, and the Board on Natural Resources of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges. He is a Distinguished Member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME-AIME), which presented him with the Ivan B. Rahn Award for Education as well as the SME President’s Citation for services to education.  He is listed in Who’s Who in America and is licensed as a Professional Engineer in three states.  Being a Rhodes Scholar Recipient himself, Lee has served on four State Committees of Selection for the Rhodes Scholarship and was Secretary for the State of Kentucky.