September 21-22, 2000


ITEM 108-2002-R0900       Authorization to Confer the Title of Professor Emeritus of Physics upon V. Hugo Schmidt; Montana State University-Bozeman


THAT:                                    Upon the occasion of the retirement of V. Hugo Schmidt from the faculty of Montana State University, the Board of Regents wishes to express its appreciation for his service to the University, the Montana University System, and the people of the State of Montana.


EXPLANATION:                  Hugo Schmidt began his appointment as Associate Professor of Physics at Montana State University in 1964.  He received his doctoral degree from the University of Washington in 1960 and a B.S. in Engineering from Washington State University.  Prior to joining the M.S.U. faculty, he held the position of Assistant Professor of Physics at Valparaiso University for three years. He received his first research grant from the National Science Foundation in 1961, while still at Valparaiso.


Dr. Schmidt is a recognized leader in ferroelectric materials, liquid crystals, and piezoelectric materials, and serves on the editorial board of the journal Ferroelectrics.  He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, has received a Fulbright Fellowship for study and research in Yugoslavia, and is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.  Dr. Schmidt has also received numerous awards at Montana State University for excellence in teaching and research.  Among these awards are the Wiley Award (1981), Sigma Xi Faculty Research Award (1979), and the M.S.U./Chamber of Commerce Award for Excellence (1983 and 1999).  Dr. Schmidt has produced about a dozen Ph.D. graduates, and has been a major force in interdisciplinary materials science projects at Montana State University.  In particular, his studies of "active" piezoelectric materials have involved faculty from the College of Engineering, and both undergraduate and graduate students from Physics and Engineering.  For three consecutive years, undergraduate students working in Dr. Schmidt's laboratory have flown aboard a KC-135 cargo plane above the Gulf of Mexico to conduct reduced-gravity experiments, with the support of a NASA grant.


Breadth of interest and versatility have marked Dr. Schmidt's career at Montana State University.  A true internationalist, he has participated often in overseas conferences, organized international conferences at Montana State University, and has had many foreign visitors in his laboratory for extended research visits, including scientists from eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.  Also a dedicated environmentalist, Dr. Schmidt developed a generator that relies on wind energy, and set up an NSF-funded summer workshop for undergraduate students that focused on the physics of energy.  For years, Dr. Schmidt served as the campus coordinator for Montana's DOE EPSCoR program.  He has also directed research in magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), a process that has been used to convert coal gas into electricity.


Finally, Dr. Schmidt's service contributions have been exemplary.  He served for many years as chair of several important committees in Physics, devoted considerable energy to recruiting graduate students for our program, and has organized innumerable lab tours for visiting officials, prospective students, and the public.  In recognition of his outstanding service, the Physics Department established an annual service award for the most outstanding faculty colleague, and named Dr. Schmidt as the first recipient.


For these and other contributions, the Board of Regents of Higher Education is pleased to confer upon V. Hugo Schmidt the rank of Professor Emeritus of Physics at Montana State University and wishes him well for many pleasant years in the future.