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General Information, Honors & Awards, Science & Technology

College of Science Salutes 2012 Hall of Distinction Inductees

04/12/2012 12:25 PM

BATON ROUGE - The LSU College of Science will welcome seven new members during its 2012 Hall of Distinction ceremony on April 20 at the Lod Cook Alumni Center. This year’s inductees are Larry O. Arthur, Frank “Billy” Harrison III, Henry Howe, Ron and Mary Neal, Dolores Spikes and James Wharton.


“This event is a wonderful opportunity to honor the achievements of our distinguished alumni, faculty, and friends,” said Kevin Carman, dean, LSU College of Science. “We are very excited about this year’s class.  Their outstanding contributions to science, oil and gas exploration, medicine, and higher education certainly bring honor to the Hall of Distinction.”


Larry O. Arthur, scientist emeritus of SAIC-Frederick, earned a B.S. in microbiology and chemistry in 1966 and an M.S. in microbiology and biochemistry in 1968 from Northwestern State University. He later earned a Ph.D. in microbiology from LSU in 1970.  Arthur joined the staff at the National Cancer Institute in Frederick Maryland, or NCI-Frederick, in 1973, initially studying a virus which causes mammary cancer in mice.  With the onset of HIV/AIDS in the early 1980s, Arthur became on of the foremost authorities on the virus and helped to produce the first test to ensure that blood used in transfusions was free of the HIV virus. Arthur was appointed CEO and chief scientist of SAIC-Frederick in 2007.  He retired from that position in 2011.


Frank W. “Billy” Harrison III, co-founder of independent oil and gas exploration company Houston Energy LP, graduated from LSU in 1976 with a degree in geology. He later earned a M.S. in geology in 1979. Harrison has more than 29 years of petroleum exploration experience in Texas, the Louisiana Gulf Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. He serves on the LSU Foundation’s Board of Directors where he is currently chairman of the strategic planning committee. Harrison and his wife, Ann, who is also an LSU graduate, have a long history of support for the College of Science and the Department of Geology & Geophysics.


Fulton, N.Y., native Henry Howe (1896-1973) earned his B.S. in humanities from the University of Oregon in 1916. He received his Ph.D. in 1922 in geology, with an emphasis in paleontology, from Stanford University. After graduation, Howe was recruited by Louisiana Gov. John M. Parker as an assistant professor with the task of reconstructing the geology department at LSU. Howe was promoted to the director of the geology department in 1931, and served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1944-49. Howe initiated geology summer camps for LSU students and established a camp on the Keeton Ranch, the oldest, continuously operating, permanent geology summer camp in the country, near Colorado Springs, Colo. In 1987, the new geology building was named the “Howe-Russell Geoscience Complex” in honor of his legacy. Howe served his entire career at LSU until his retirement in 1966.


Ron Neal earned his bachelor of science degree in zoology in 1974 and an M.S. in geology in 1977 from LSU. After earning his master's degree, Ron held positions with Amoco Production Company and Davis Petroleum from 1977 until 1988. He co-founded Houston Energy L.P., an independent oil and gas exploration company, with partner and fellow LSU alumnus Billy Harrison in 1988. Mary Neal earned her bachelor of science degree in zoology from LSU in 1975 followed by an M.D. from the LSU Medical School in New Orleans in 1979. She completed both her internship and residency at Baylor College of Medicine Affiliated Hospitals. Mary practiced for 18 years with Obstetrical and Gynecology Associates in the Houston area and held appointments at The Woman’s Hospital of Texas and the Harris County Hospital District. Mary retired from her practice in 2010, and now spends two days a week volunteering at a local clinic. The Neals have been members of the LSU Foundation since 2000 and the LSU College of Science’s Dean’s Circle since its inception in 2007. Together, they have been significant supporters of the departments of biological sciences and geology & geophysics.


Southern University and A&M College System President Emeritus Dolores Spikes is the first woman to lead a public college or university system and the first African-American to graduate with a Ph.D. in mathematics from LSU, in 1971. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Southern University in 1957, followed by a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Illinois in 1958. Spikes began teaching in the Southern University mathematics department in 1961. She rose through the academic ranks and was named chancellor of the Southern University Baton Rouge and Southern University New Orleans campuses in the late 80s. In 1988, she was appointed president of the Southern University System, one of the largest historically black public university systems in the United States.


LSU Chancellor Emeritus James H. Wharton earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry, with minors in physics and mathematics, from Northeast Louisiana State College.. He received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry on a National Academy of Science Fellowship from LSU. After graduation, Wharton became an assistant professor of physical chemistry at LSU and was later promoted to associate dean of chemistry and physics. He held a number of administrative positions at LSU including dean of Junior Division, dean of General College and interim chancellor at LSU Alexandria. Wharton was named chancellor of LSU in 1981. As chancellor, he was instrumental in elevating LSU’s fundraising activities and assisted with the development and preservation of TOPS, the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students. Wharton also led efforts to bring CAMD to LSU and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, or LIGO, to Livingston Parish. Under his leadership, LSU was named a Carnegie Research I institution and admission standards were implemented that enhanced the national image of the university.


In 2004, the College of Science established the Hall of Distinction to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to science, the community, the college and the university by demonstrating sustained excellence in their scientific, business, educational, governmental and community service activities.


All individuals, including, but not limited to, alumni, emeritus faculty and friends of the college who have made outstanding contributions to science, the college and their community may be eligible for nomination.


The College of Science Hall of Distinction gallery can be found online at

LSU College of Science