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Geology Prof Named Alma Mater’s Distinguished Alum

February 23, 2017

Dr. James Ward of the Angelo State University geosciences faculty has been named a 2017 Distinguished Alumnus of Sul Ross State University by the SRSU Alumni Association and was honored at a banquet on Feb. 18 on the SRSU campus in Alpine.

<strong>Dr. James Ward</strong><br/>Photo by Dana JonesDr. James Ward
Photo by Dana Jones
A native of Balmorhea, Ward received both his bachelor’s degree (2001) and master’s degree (2004) from SRSU before earning his Ph.D. in geology at the University of Kentucky in 2008. He joined the ASU faculty in 2010 in the Department of Physics and Geosciences. 

“Winning the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award at Sul Ross State University is an absolute honor and a highlight of my career,” Ward said. “My family and I went out to Sul Ross for a Geology Reunion and the Awards Dinner and had an absolutely delightful time. Sul Ross is an outstanding academic institution, and I am very proud to be a product of the university and its wonderful geology program.” 

As associate professor of geology at ASU, Ward’s primary interests are in hydrogeology and geochemistry, and he regularly leads his students on extended geological field trips throughout West and Central Texas. He also played an integral role in designing new courses and developing the curriculum for ASU’s Bachelor of Science in geoscience degree program. 

Ward has also racked up an impressive list of awards since coming to ASU. He won both the ASU President’s Award and Texas Tech University System Chancellor’s Council Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015, as well as the ASU Alumni Association’s 2016 Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award. He has also been awarded more than $300,000 in research grants from various sources, including the Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation and Shell Oil Company. 

In addition to being a teacher and scientist, Ward is also an innovator. When his rheumatoid arthritis began to hamper his ability to work in the field and lead his students on geological field trips, he helped train and equip his own service dog, Beau. With Beau’s help, Ward continues to provide the hands-on field training that prepares his students for geology careers after graduation. 

Ward and his wife, Kathryn, have a young son, Paul, and an infant daughter, Ella.