News Releases 2008

Biomedical Engineering Professor Roger Gonzalez Wins 2008 Piper Award

Sat, May 3 2008

LeTourneau University biomedical engineering professor Dr. Roger V. Gonzalez has been selected as a Piper Professor for 2008 for superior teaching by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation of Texas. As a recipient of the award, Gonzalez will receive an honorarium of $5,000 as well as a certificate and a gold pin.

Gonzalez is the first LETU professor to be named a Piper Professor. He was recognized at LETU commencement exercises Saturday.

Each year, the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation recognizes 15 professors for outstanding teaching from accredited two-and four-year public and private colleges and universities in Texas. Nominations are requested from all accredited higher education institutions in the state, and an impartial selection committee reviews each nomination to choose those professors to be honored. The committee tries to seek out the well-rounded, outgoing teacher, devoted to the profession who has made special impact on his students and the community.

"LeTourneau students benefit from small classes taught by exceptional faculty like Dr. Gonzalez," said LETU President Dr. Dale A. Lunsford. "We are honored that the Piper Foundation has recognized the unique strengths of a LeTourneau education."

Gonzalez is a professor of biomedical and mechanical engineering and the director of the biomedical engineering program at LeTourneau University. He earned his doctorate in mechanical engineering and his Master of Science degree in biomedical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas-El Paso.

Gonzalez was awarded the prestigious National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award (NRSA) for his postdoctoral work in neuromuscular control and musculoskeletal biomechanics on children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis while working as a research scientist at Northwestern University Medical School and at the premier Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Gonzalez has received four National Science Foundation grants and two NIH grants, along with various support from foundations for his international humanitarian endeavors. He founded and currently serves as executive director of LeTourneau Engineering Global Solutions (LEGS), a student project which develops low-cost, above-knee prosthetic devices for under-developed areas of the world. Gonzalez has worked with students in Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia and Latin America on various international engineering research and humanitarian projects.

His scholarly efforts with students have focused on musculoskeletal modeling, dynamic modeling of human movement and neuromuscular control with applications to upper extremity neuroprosthesis and on the effects of knee ACL-deficiency on osteoarthritis. More than 100 publications detail his research endeavors, many of which are coauthored with undergraduate students.

Gonzalez also has mentored over a 100 undergraduate engineering students, many of whom are now studying at top U.S. universities, such as Johns Hopkins, MIT, Stanford, Georgia Tech and UT Austin. He also has been awarded LeTourneau University’s top research and scholarship award and is serving as an engineering program evaluator for ABET (Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology), which is the sole U.S. entity for accrediting engineering programs throughout the United States. A Texas-licensed, professional engineer, Gonzalez has been married for more than 20 years and has two children.

Other accolades Gonzalez has received include the American Society of Engineers (ASEE) Outstanding Teaching Award in 2007.

"We are proud to count Dr. Gonzalez among our excellent faculty here at LeTourneau," said Robert W. Hudson, vice president for Academic Affairs. "This is a great honor for him and for the university."