Art, Atmospheric Science Professors Named University Distinguished Professors, the Top Honor at Colorado State University

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Colorado State University President Tony Frank today named two new University Distinguished Professors: David Randall, atmospheric science, who is largely responsible for bringing a $40 million NSF center to CSU; and Phil Risbeck, art, who brought the university the world-renowned Colorado International Invitational Poster Exhibition, or CIIPE.

Randall is principal investigator and director of the multi-institutional NSF Science and Technology Center for Multi-Scale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes, which is based at Colorado State.

Risbeck, who has been teaching at CSU for nearly 50 years, is the founding co-director of CIIPE, which was launched as a biennial show in 1979 and has become one of the world’s most important poster shows.

“This designation is the highest honor Colorado State University bestows to faculty," said CSU President Tony Frank. "Drs. Randall and Risbeck have transformed their respective fields of study and are recognized as among the most accomplished and creative in their disciplines. These scholars contribute significantly to the research quality and educational excellence of this institution.”

David Randall

Randall is among the department’s top researchers. He received the 2005 Scholarship Impact Award, the university’s top annual honor for research accomplishments. Under the auspices of the NSF Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes based at CSU, he created a peer-reviewed major scientific journal for cloud modeling – JAMES or the Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems – that was adopted by the American Geophysical Union.

Randall is helping scientists who, for decades, have struggled to improve the way the clouds are represented in climate models. Since the 1960s, scientists have used climate models to understand and predict future systematic changes in weather that affect the planet and particularly farmers, utilities, insurance companies and government agencies.

A groundbreaking study led by Randall’s former student Cristiana Stan, in collaboration with Randall and several others showed that a new computer model realistically represented weather changes in both the atmosphere and ocean when paired with an ocean model for the first time.

Computer modeling may sound hum-drum, but the results of the groundbreaking study – published in the American Geophysical Union’s prestigious Geophysical Research Letters – mean that researchers have taken a major leap toward understanding and predicting climate change and weather patterns. The paper was selected by the AGU as an “AGU Journal Highlight.”

Several dozen organizations and universities are members of the center with co-principal investigators at the San Diego Supercomputer Center and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder.

Phil Risbeck

Risbeck began teaching at CSU in 1965, and his posters are considered among the finest in the world. He has had solo and group exhibitions on four continents and in some of the world’s most influential art centers, including Moscow; Paris; Riga, Latvia; Porto, Portugal; Warsaw, Poland; Cerveira, Portugal; and Havana, Cuba.

Risbeck’s posters have won medals in Europe, North America and South America, and he has had guest teaching residencies in Columbia, Argentina, Brazil, China, Russia, Ukraine, France and Portugal.

In 2008, Risbeck was awarded an Honorable Diploma for Contributions to the World and Russian Poster Art by the Moscow Academy of Design, and he was a guest professor of art at Hubie Institute of Fine Arts in Wuhan, China.

Risbeck might best be known for being the founding co-director of the Colorado International Invitational Poster Exhibition, which debuted in 1979 and is considered one of the premier poster shows in the United States. The 2011 show, the 17th edition, featured works by 90 artists from 33 countries.

In 2011, Risbeck was given CSU’s International Programs Distinguished Service Award, and in 2008 he was given the John N. Stern Distinguished Professor Award by the College of Liberal Arts.

About the University Distinguished Professors

Only 1 percent of CSU faculty are honored with the rank of University Distinguished Professor. A lifetime award, the designation carries into retirement as an emeritus professor. To obtain the rank, faculty members are nominated through an extensive review process and must be approved by the current University Distinguished Professors.

Current University Distinguished Professors:
• Barry Beaty, Patrick Brennan, Edward Hoover and Ian Orme, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology;
• Jan Leach, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management;
• Karolin Luger, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology;
• C. Wayne McIlwraith and Stephen Withrow, Department of Clinical Sciences;
• Jorge Rocca, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering;
• Bernard E. Rollin, Department of Philosophy;
• John Sofos, Department of Animal Sciences;
• Thomas Vonder Haar, Department of Atmospheric Science;
• Diana Wall, Department of Biology; and
• Robert Williams, Department of Chemistry.