Dr. Diana Wall to Receive 2012 Mines Medal tonight

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Dr. Diana Wall, one of the world’s foremost biodiversity experts and director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University, will receive the 2012 Mines Medal Award tonight from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

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Dr. Diana Wall, 2012 Mines Medalist

The Mines Medal, awarded by the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, highlights the significant role recipients play in ensuring the United States’ global preeminence in engineering and science.

Dr. Diana Wall, one of the world’s foremost biodiversity experts and director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University, will receive the 2012 Mines Medal Award tonight.

The national award, presented annually by the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, honors engineers and scientists who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and innovation.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard will present the award, along with Acting President Duane Hrncir, Ph.D.

It is the fourth medal presented by the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. The award highlights the significant role recipients play in ensuring the United States’ global preeminence in engineering and science.

Dr. Wall is currently researching how habitat diversity contributes to healthy, productive soils and the consequences of human activities on soil. Her expertise and prolific, groundbreaking research has led her from the Antarctic Dry Valleys, where Wall Valley was named for her research contributions, to sub-Saharan Africa, where she is a principal investigator for a Winslow Foundation grant.

She is co-investigator for the National Science Foundation McMurdo Dry Valley Long Term Ecological Research site, with more than 25 expeditions to the Antarctic Dry Valleys examining the response of soil biodiversity and ecosystem processes to environmental change.

“I believe it is incumbent upon us to honor those who explore the frontiers of science and contribute to solving our scientific and technological challenges,” Hrncir said. “Tonight we are thrilled to recognize Dr. Wall, whose research efforts encompass the world of soil biodiversity and its impact on humankind.”

In July, Dr. Wall received the President’s Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Antarctic Science by the International Council for Science’s Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, and in 2011 was selected by the British Ecological Society as the prestigious Tansley Lecturer. She is a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a founding member of the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative, former president of the Ecological Society of America and a former member of the U.S. National Commission of UNESCO.

She holds a Ph.D. in plant pathology and a B.A. in biology from the University of Kentucky.

“I am thrilled to be the recipient of the 2012 Mines Medal and to be in the company of distinguished awardees who are internationally recognized for their innovative scientific contributions,” Dr. Wall said.

Past award recipients are 2011 Mines Medalist Dr. Lee Rybeck Lynd, professor of engineering and adjunct professor of biology and earth science at Dartmouth College; 2010 Mines Medalist Dr. Steven Squyres, Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University, and principal investigator for NASA’s Mars Rover Project; and 2009 Mines Medalist Dr. Cindy Van Dover, chair and professor of Duke University’s Division of Marine Sciences and Conservation and director of the Duke University Marine Laboratory.

The event will be held at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. A reception and silent auction begins at 6 p.m. with the dinner and award ceremony at 7 p.m.

Read more about the 2012 Mines Medal Award.

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About South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is a science and engineering university located in Rapid City, S.D., with an enrollment of 2,424 students from 32 countries. The SD School of Mines offers 15 bachelor’s, 14 master’s and seven doctoral degrees. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1, with 2011 graduates enjoying a 97 percent job placement rate and an average starting salary of $56,723. Find us online at http://www.sdsmt.edu.

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Fran LeFort
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
605-394-6082
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