Montana State University

Stoner, Wetstein to receive MSU honorary doctorate degrees

April 15, 2010

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Gary Stoner, a Montana-born biochemistry researcher who has identified natural compounds that might prevent certain types of cancer, and Willis Wetstein, a Helena engineer who has been at the forefront of designs that improve the environment and aid humanity, will receive honorary doctorate degrees from Montana State University during the university's 114th commencement ceremonies.

MSU commencement is scheduled at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 8, at MSU's Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.

"We are pleased to honor these two remarkable individuals with the highest commendation MSU confers," said Waded Cruzado, MSU president.

Stoner is a native of Manhattan, Mont., who received his bachelor's in chemistry from MSU in 1964 and went on to earn his doctorate from the University of Michigan.

Stoner is currently professor emeritus in the Department of Internal Medicine at Ohio State University where he has based his studies of chemical carcinogenesis and cancer chemoprevention for more than 30 years. He is particularly recognized for his identification of chemical compounds, often natural products derived from common foodstuffs, that prevent cancer in the esophagus and colon. The results of his research have been documented in more than 300 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. His productivity has led him to be classified as a "very high impact scientist." He is a recipient of the Young Investigator award from the National Institute of Health's national Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a NIH MERIT award and has been named as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Recently, Stoner returned to Montana to ranch outside Amsterdam.

Wetstein is a specialist in water resources engineering who is recognized for his work on projects that have improved the natural environment and those that have brought clean drinking water to rural communities throughout the world. After he graduated from MSU in 1957 with a degree in civil engineering, Wetstein went to work for Morrison-Maierle, Inc. He worked for the company for 52 years in Helena and Phoenix, serving as company president for a time, before he retired to become a director emeritus. His domestic projects include water/wastewater improvements from Glacier National Park to Big Sky, and on Indian reservations in Montana, North Dakota and the Southwest. He has also worked on projects throughout the world, including Sudan, South Africa, Mexico and Central America. One of his most honored jobs was a United Nations project to bring potable water to 250 villages in Lesotho, Africa. He recently played a key role in establishing a civil engineering program at Carroll College in Helena. He is a recipient of the Fuller Award from the American Water Works Association and the Arthur S. Bedell Award from the Water Environment Association. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the WEA and AWWA and was recently inducted into the Montana Society of Engineers' Professional Engineers Hall of Fame.

MSU annually confers doctorates on friends of the university to honor achievements and service to the state of Montana.

Susan Fraser or Shari McCoy, (406) 994-2341