July 14-15, 2005


ITEM 128-1503-R0705                Authorization to Confer the Title of Professor Emeritus of Geophysical Engineering Upon William R. Sill; Montana Tech of The University of Montana


THAT:                                       Upon the occasion of the retirement of Dr. William R. Sill from the faculty of Montana Tech of The University of Montana, the faculty wishes to express its appreciation for his many years of dedicated and valued service to the institution, the Department of Geophysical Engineering, and the state of Montana by recommending the rank of Professor Emeritus be conferred upon him by the Board of Regents of the Montana University System.


EXPLANATION:                        Professor William R. Sill received his BS degree in geology and geophysics from Michigan State University in 1960, his MS from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1963, and his PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1967.  After graduate school, Dr. Sill spent four years with Bell Laboratory in Washington D.C. under contract to NASA on the Apollo lunar science program.  He spent the next 11 years at the University of Utah as a research professor, first working on the Apollo 17 radar experiment data and later on the development of exploration methods for geothermal resources.  In 1983 Dr. Sill came to Montana Tech as an Associate Professor in Geophysical Engineering and in 1986 he became Head of the Department and the following year he was promoted to Professor and awarded tenure. He served as department head until 2000.  During his time as department head, Dr. Sill oversaw the change in personnel of the Department from primarily physics faculty to primarily geophysical engineering faculty.  Moreover, the number of women graduates from the Geophysical Engineering Program increased dramatically during this time.


Dr. Sill’s research at Montana Tech has focused on numerical modeling techniques for streaming electrical potentials, which are useful for monitoring earth-fill dams.  His current research involves the development of electrical probes for mining drill holes. Dr. Sill has published over 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals as well as numerous papers and abstracts in refereed proceedings volumes. Dr. Sill and his coauthors received the Society of Exploration Geophysicists Best Paper Award of 1978 for their paper “Mineral discrimination and removal of inductive coupling with multifrequency IP.”  His highly regarded paper “Self-potential modeling” was reprinted in 1985 in a special addition of the journal Geophysics as one of the “Classic Papers in Geophysics of the Past 25 Years.”


At Montana Tech, Dr. Sill taught physics and geophysics.  He was especially adept at teaching the Electrical Methods, Gravity and Magnetics, Inversion, and Field Method courses.  His upper division geophysics courses were always well received by students, and Department alumni often comment on his exceptional skill in explaining complicated subject matter.


Dr. Sill’s tenure at Montana Tech can be characterized as one of exceptional contribution to student learning and service to the University and to the State for which he is to be commended.


With this recommendation go sincere thanks for 22 years of invaluable service to the state of Montana and Montana Tech of The University of Montana.  Congratulations and best wishes for the future