March 1-3, 2006
ITEM 130-2003-R0306 Authorization to Confer the Title of Professor Emeritus of Soil Science upon Gerald (Jerry) Nielsen; Montana State University-Bozeman
THAT: Upon the occasion of the retirement of Gerald Nielsen 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 State University.
EXPLANATION: Dr. Jerry Nielsen retired on July 31, 1999, and has remained active in the university. He earned B.S. (Agriculture & Education), M.S. (Soil Science) and Ph.D. (Soil Science with Plant Ecology minor) degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. As an Assistant Professor with the University of Wyoming’s USAID contract team in Afghanistan, he developed soil science teaching and research programs in the Faculty of Agriculture, Kabul University. Four years in Afghanistan were followed by 33 years of outstanding teaching and research at Montana State University. Throughout his career, he has been recognized for excellence in research, scholarship, teaching, and service. He still undertakes part-time collaborative work through funded research grants.
At MSU, Professor Nielsen taught soil genesis, morphology and classification to 1,000 students, initiated a course in remote sensing applications taken by 450 students, supervised 25 M.S. and 9 Ph.D. students, and served on 80 graduate student advisory committees. He was awarded the Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Teacher and College of Agriculture’s “Top 10 Instructor” awards. Research areas included pedology, soil resource inventory methods, soil/plant/climate relationships, and applications of GIS and GPS technologies for site-specific management and technology transfer with applications to agriculture, range, forest, and mined-lands. He is internationally recognized as among the first few scientists who investigated precision farming. Dr. Nielsen published 100 technical papers and was supported largely with extramural funds from 98 grants and contracts totaling $3.5 million. He served as Associate Editor of the Soil Science Society of America Journal, Chair of that society’s Pedology Division (S-5), and is currently on the editorial board of the Precision Agriculture journal. He devoted much effort to the National and Montana State Soil Survey programs, was elected President of the Montana Soil and Water Conservation Society and provided professional service on 80 boards, committees and review panels at the state, regional, national and international levels. He was recognized through election as a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, the highest recognition given by the society.
For these and other contributions, the Board of Regents of Higher Education is pleased to confer upon Gerald Nielsen the rank of Professor Emeritus of Soil Science at Montana State University and wishes him well for many years in the future.