Colorado State University Names First Monfort Professors

Colorado State University today appointed the first two recipients of the prestigious Monfort Professor Award, an award established through a gift from the Monfort Family Foundation to help the university recruit and retain top-quality faculty.

The selection of the Monfort Professors was a result of a campus-wide nomination process which included input from all eight colleges at the university. A. Scott Denning, assistant professor of atmospheric science and an international leader in the study of global climate change, and Yian Shi, associate professor of chemistry who has discovered several highly fundamental chemical processes, each will receive $75,000 each year for two years to support innovative teaching and research activities in addition to the salary and support they already receive from the university. The two professors are the first of 10 Monfort Professors who will be selected for the award over the next five years.

"This was a difficult choice, as there were so many highly qualified applicants," said Provost Peter Nicholls. "The vision and insight of these new Monfort Professors emphasizes the far-ranging quality of the research that is consistently produced at Colorado State,"

"These two outstanding researchers are part of the reason we dedicated resources to support Colorado State’s continued growth as a great university," said Dick Monfort, member of the Monfort Family Foundation. "We’re pleased that our family has played a part in this growth and in the support of excellence in faculty and student endeavors."

The Monfort Professor program is the centerpiece of a $5 million gift given to the university this spring through the Monfort Family Foundation. The gift will create a series of enhancements to the university’s faculty, students and educational experience over the next decade. The gift, which also supports the Monfort Scholars program created in 1999 with a $2.5 million endowment, brings the total donations from the Monfort family and its foundation to Colorado State to more than $12.5 million.

"Through the generous support of the Monfort family, Colorado State will continue to focus on the pursuit of excellence in our faculty, students and on the total learning experience at the university," said President Albert C. Yates. "These newly named Monfort Professors represent a world-class faculty to help further the land-grant mission of Colorado State University."

Since his appointment as assistant professor in 1998, Denning has received more than $3.8 million in research funding and has opened up new research areas in biogeochemical cycles, seeking to understand the local and global budgets of important greenhouse gases. He has served on panels developing a U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Plan, the North American Carbon Program and an international Carbon Observing System Plan being organized by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

Denning plans to use his two-year Monfort professorship to create and teach a full-semester course in data assimilation for the study of the carbon cycle, one of the major areas of his research and an area of global concern.

Shi, a member of the chemistry department for seven years, has focused on his research ranging broadly from synthetic organic chemistry to biological chemistry. A graduate from Stanford University with a doctorate in chemistry, Shi has been recognized with national and international awards including the National Science Foundation Career Award and the National Institutes of Health First Award. Shi developed technology that has been patented and licensed through the Colorado State University Foundation, and led to his recognition as

Colorado State’s Researcher of the Year in 2000.

Known as an accomplished, energetic and productive faculty member and researcher, Shi plans to use his Monfort professorship to enhance the research and training of students through the integration of research and education.