July 8-9, 1999
ITEM 104-2002-R0799 RETIREMENT of Daniel N. March, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Montana State University-Bozeman
THAT: Upon the occasion of the retirement of Daniel March from the faculty of Montana State University-Bozeman, 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: Dr. March began his academic career at Montana State College as an undergraduate student receiving his B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1959, followed by his M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1960. After a brief career at the Electronics Research Laboratory at Montana State College and with Montronics, Dr. March received his Ph.D. from Montana State University in 1966, and in 1967 began his thirty-two year career as a faculty member. He has taught every quarter or semester of every academic year since that time.
Dr. March 's specialty has been telecommunications. For the past twenty years he has taught both the undergraduate and graduate courses in this field. Dr. March established a telecommunications laboratory where the students received hands-on experience with the complex theories of electronic telecommunications. He was instrumental in having the telecommunications course and associated laboratory class required for all Electrical Engineering underclassmen. Many of his students have gone on to become leading engineers in companies such as US West, Motorola, Qualcomm Communications, Lucent Technologies, AT&T, as well as the Montana Power Company, and Montana State Government.
In addition to his devotion to Electrical Engineering education, Dr. March was also active in faculty affairs and governance, serving twelve years as a College of Engineering representative to the Faculty Council at MSU.
Dr. March recently received a plaque from the national headquarters of the engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi, for serving as an advisor to the group for nine years. The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) also awarded him a plaque for having been a contributing member of the Telecommunications Society for 25 years. Dr. March is a Senior Member of the IEEE and has held every office in the Montana section of the professional society. He has been Chairman of the Physical Sciences section of the Southwest and Rocky Mountain Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. For ten years he was a member of Commission E (Interference Environment), U.S. National Committee of URSI, the International Radio Sciences Union. Dr. March is also a registered Professional Engineer.
In addition to his teaching and service contributions, Dr. March has been an outstanding research engineer. His first major accomplishment at MSU was the analysis of the telecommunication system for the first Minute-Man Missile Complex. This work, done for the Boeing Company, showed that the probability of a missile inadvertently receiving its launch message was so great that the predicted mean time between erroneous launches was one year. This revelation resulted in significant changes in the missile telecommunication system, and Dr. March's recommendations for solving the problem were incorporated.
Under Dr. March's leadership, MSU became a leading research organization dealing with forward scatter of radio waves off the ionized trails of meteors for communication purposes, generally called meteor-burst communications. Sponsors of the work included the Boeing Company, Ball Brothers Research, Stanford Research Institute, the U.S. Navy, Bonneville Power, and the National Science Foundation. Dr. March and his graduate students designed, built, and tested the meteor-burst remote data acquisition system that is still in use by the U.S. government to collect snow depth data in the Rocky Mountains. There are several
meteor-burst SNOTEL systems in operation today in the mountains of Montana.
Dr. March also spent several years investigating lightning, and lightning detection and location systems. Under U.S. Atomic Energy Commission sponsorship, he developed the theory and demonstrated the feasibility of a time-of-arrival lightning location. This system is now used in the National Lightning Location System.
In 1982, a research project sponsored by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and headed by Dr. March showed that the 500 kV lines that were to be built in Montana would generate electromagnetic interference which would degrade the communication quality at rural residences near the line. Under Dr. March's direction and with Montana Power Company sponsorship, Dr. March and his students measured the communication quality at each residence within a quarter mile of the line route. In several cases alternative communication systems were installed to provide no interruption once the lines were energized.
Dr. March also initiated a research project to determine the cause of faults on the 500 kV lines crossing Montana. The project, sponsored by Montana Power Company, started in 1992 and ended in the fall of 1998. This research over the years has involved many undergraduate and graduate students.
Dr. March has published many research papers, reviewed papers for conferences, and many of his students have published theses and papers. The graduate students that have worked for Dr. March have left school well prepared for their careers in electrical engineering research and development.
For these and other contributions, the Board of Regents of Higher Education is pleased to confer upon Daniel N. March the rank of Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Montana State University and wishes him well for many pleasant years in the future.