May 17-18, 2001

 

ITEM 111-2002-R0501†††††† Authorization to Confer the Title of Regentsí Professor upon John R. Horner; Montana State University-Bozeman

 

THAT:†† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† In recognition of his service to Montana State University and his unique contribution to the science of paleontology, the Board of Regents appoints John R. Horner as a Regentsí Professor.

EXPLANATION:††††††††††††††††† Paleontology has become the gateway to science for millions of children and college students worldwide.† No individual is more responsible for this remarkable growth of interest than John R. (Jack) Horner, who is just completing his 20th year as Curator of Paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies.† Jack's work concerning dinosaur behavior has changed the face of modern paleontology research and most of it stems from his remarkable research sites in Montana.

 

Jack is the only recipient in the Montana University System of the distinguished MacArthur Fellowship as well as many other national and international awards and honors.†† In addition to 50 professional papers and one professional book, he has also authored 25 popular articles and five popular books including one children's book.† In 1997, one of the dinosaurs he discovered was featured on the US Postage Stamp Paleontology Series.† The US Postal Service chose to set up a first day of issue ceremony in Montana at MSU because of Jack's work.† The University of Montana, where Jack was once a student, has awarded him an honorary doctorate. In 2000, his book Digging Dinosaurs, was designated one of the 100 most important science books of the 20th Century.†† His willingness to talk about science with the popular media is well known and documented with 24 appearances last year alone in media ranging from the Jordan (Montana) Tribune to the London Times.

 

It is significant that a wide number of Jack's graduate students are now making names for themselves.† In addition to his research and exhibition work at the museum, he teaches at least two MSU classes per year, one at the lower division and one at the upper division level, and supervises an average of five graduate students each year.†

 

Jack has just completed a two‑year period as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, another national honor he earned.† He lectures throughout the world and routinely draws a† thousand or more people to his thought‑provoking presentations on dinosaur behavior.† In fact, Jack has given over 700 lectures worldwide.† At the same time he will often accept opportunities to work with Montana school children or speak at a science camp in Billings.†† The mail he gets from children alone often overwhelms the museum.† Jack has a new popular book, Dinosaurs Under the Big Sky, due out this year.† He and his wife Celeste published in the prestigious journal, Nature, in February.

 

Through his success in raising private support and winning grants, Jack has equipped one of the best paleontology labs in the nation.† He has accepted responsibility for the university's paleontology collection as well as significant holdings for the state and federal government.† This remarkable collection is one of the most fully researched accumulations of dinosaur specimens in existence, attracting students and faculty from all over the world.†† Large parts of the collection are also online and thus widely available to children and adults.† Jack also serves as the State Paleontologist for Montana.

 

As a land-grant university with a mission of teaching, research and service, there are few who fulfill that mandate with as much dedication as Jack Horner.†† The Regents' Professorship is the highest honor that we can accord him.† We urge the Board of Regents to approve our nomination.