CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is conferring its highest faculty honor, the title of “distinguished professor,” on two longtime faculty members recognized, respectively, for their leading research and scholarship in the use of living organisms to remove pollutants from the environment and in adapting physical exercise activities for kids with disabilities.
Lewis Semprini, a professor of environmental engineering, is a world leader in the development of bioremediation, a relatively new field of study that has grown exponentially over the past 20 years. His fellow awardee, Jeffrey A. McCubbin, has earned national acclaim for his leadership in the area of adapted physical activity, which has included the Individualized Movement and Physical Activity for Children Today (IMPACT) Program at OSU since 1988.
“Professors McCubbin and Semprini exemplify the intent behind use of the word ‘distinguished’ in their new titles,” said OSU Provost and Executive Vice President Sabah Randhawa. “Both are not only successful as classroom instructors and as researchers, but also give back to the community, the state of Oregon and the nation through significant service.”
McCubbin has been a member of the OSU faculty since 1988. He has been the director or co-director of two special education training grants from the U.S. Dept. of Education totaling more than $5 million. OSU is the only university in the nation to have both grants – one supporting masters students, the other doctoral students – and that has helped elevate its Movement Studies in Disability graduate program to one of the best in the nation.
McCubbin, who earned his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, has also served as president of the National Consortium for Physical Education and Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities and as chair of other national organizations focused on ability, health and mobility. His is a fellow of the prestigious Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education and has co-authored two books and published dozens of research papers.
Nominator Anthony Wilcox, chair of the Dept. of Nutrition and Exercise Sciences, describes McCubbin as “a visionary leader” in the College of Health and Human Sciences. Other individuals and groups agree, among them, the National Consortium for Physical Education and Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities, which honored him with its Distinguished Service Award in 1996.
Semprini, a member of the OSU faculty for the past 14 years, has had an equally significant impact in his field. A principal investigator on research projects supported by some $15 million in funding from the National Science Foundation and Environmental Protection Agency, Semprini has pioneered the practice of using living organisms to remove pollutants from soil and waters. He undertook the first field trials of co-metabolism to remove trichloroethylene from groundwater in the 1980s, drawing international interest from other researchers as well as press attention from such periodicals as Newsweek and the Christian Science Monitor.
Over the years, he has published more than 120 articles in scientific journals and edited or contributed chapters to eight books. A holder of three graduate degrees (including a Ph.D.) from Stanford, Semprini has earned awards for research and scholarship at OSU and currently serves as the executive chair of the OSU Subsurface Biosphere Initiative, one of the university’s six strategic initiatives.
Co-nominators Dan Arp, chair of the Dept. of Botany and Plant Pathology, and Kenneth Williamson, chair of the Dept. of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, call him an “excellent teacher” and an “outstanding promoter” of large, inter-college research teams.