Rockhurst to Induct Notable Alumnus Into Science Hall of FameMarch 6, 2012

Rockhurst University will induct alumnus Chatten Cowherd, Jr., Ph.D., ’60, into its prestigious Science Hall of Fame on Thursday, March 29. Cowherd is a principal advisor for engineering and founder of the Center of Excellence in Non-Point Emission Sources and Controls at MRIGlobal – one of the nation’s leading independent engineering and research organizations.

He was selected for induction into the Science Hall of Fame for his significant contributions of knowledge and superior reputation in the field of science, specifically for his work with open-source emissions. There have been only 13 recipients of the hall of fame award since its inception in 1996.

“This award means a great deal to me because it recognizes that I represent Rockhurst well in my professional pursuits,” said Cowherd. “The University’s supportive learning environment, dedicated faculty, and small campus provided the foundation for me to succeed in my career.”

Some of Cowherd’s most notable career achievements include the development of testing methods to measure pollutants in the air from events such as dust storms and brush fires, as well as the pioneering of the isokinetic plume profiling technique which utilizes sampling towers placed immediately downwind of sources such as roadway traffic. He has also served as the lead author on several primary Environmental Protection Agency control technology documents and rapid assessment manuals for exposure to surface contamination sites.

In 2010, Cowherd was one of seven national finalists for R&D Magazine’s scientist of the year award for his significant contributions and leadership in open-source emissions.

“Through these accomplishments, Cowherd has become an internationally-recognized expert on open-source emissions,” said Rev. James Wheeler, S.J., Ph.D., professor emeritus of chemistry. “The Rockhurst community is proud to welcome him into the Rockhurst Science Hall of Fame – a lasting tribute to his tremendous career and dedication to the advancement of the chemical sciences.”

“It was Father Wheeler and other members of the science faculty who gave me an opportunity to serve as a laboratory assistant while I was at Rockhurst,” said Cowherd. “This experience enhanced my grounding in science fundamentals – something I carry with me today. Father Wheeler had a tremendous impact on me, and I think it is significant that he joined the RU faculty at the same time I joined the student body. In fact, I was in his first general chemistry class.”

Cowherd stays connected to the University in a variety of ways, including his role in managing the student internship program at MRIGlobal with assistance from Robert Hegarty, Ph.D., Rockhurst professor of mathematics and physics, as well as other faculty members in the science and mathematics departments.

“Graduates of his caliber are a recognition of the academic excellence for which Rockhurst is known,” said Mary Landers, director of alumni and constituent relations. “It is only fitting that the University honors him.”

Cowherd, who also recently celebrated his 50th class reunion and membership in Rockhurst’s Golden Hawks Society, will be inducted during an invitation-only reception and ceremony the evening of Thursday, March 29, at Rockhurst’s St. Ignatius Science Hall.

To learn more about the Science Hall of Fame, contact Landers at 816-501-4199 or

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