"I must say I was immensely surprised and kind of left speechless. I hope I can live up to all that this means to the university," said Grieco, the fourth MSU professor to become a Regents' Professor. The others are Jack Horner, paleontology; Gordon Brittan, philosophy; and John Carlsten, physics.
Background written by MSU officials and presented to the Regents in March described Grieco as the campus genius for organic synthesis. It said MSU established a Center for Discovery of Bio-Active Compounds a decade ago and was extremely fortunate to convince Grieco to move to Bozeman and become its founding director. Before that, Grieco was the Earl Blough Professor and chairman of the chemistry department at Indiana University.
"Paul is one of the most distinguished scientists in the Montana University System," the officials wrote. "He is distinguished by the skill and creativity of his work, his international recognition within the scientific community and his service in return to that community."
Grieco was praised for his excellence as a scholar, his outstanding abilities as a mentor and teacher, his collaborations with other MSU scientists, and his generosity to the Montana University System. Grieco has raised more than $6 million in research funds at MSU and has transformed every department he has joined, according to the background document. He has published more than 250 articles in scientific journals and received many major awards. He has mentored 98 Ph.D. students and 75 postdoctoral fellows in his career. He collaborates with MSU scientists in the College of Letters & Science and the College of Agriculture. He consults with local technology companies and is a partner in a new venture -- Zdye LLC in Bozeman -- that is expected to bring substantial royalties to MSU.
"As a land-grant university with a mission of teaching, research and service, there are few who fulfill that mandate with as much dedication and excellence as Paul Grieco," the officials wrote.
David Singel, head of MSU's chemistry/biochemistry department, said the idea to nominate Grieco came jointly from him; Sara Jayne Steen, dean of the College of Letters and Science; David Dooley, provost and vice president for academic affairs; and Tom McCoy, vice president for research, creativity and technology transfer. The background document they submitted to the Regents was a group effort, Singel said.
Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or email@example.com