Title: Professor Emeritus
Company: University of Minnesota
Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
Hwei-Hsien Cheng, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in soil science and higher education.
A native of Shanghai, China, Dr. Cheng witnessed the social and economic changes occurring within the rural population, discovering how the oil industry disrupted lives. Desiring to contribute to the welfare of the general population, he knew from a formative age that he wanted to work with people and improve lives. Immigrating to the United States in 1951, he attended Berea College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1956, Thereafter, he attended the University of Illinois, receiving a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in 1958 and 1961, respectively. He is a licensed professional soil scientist in the state of Minnesota.
Subsequent to earning his degrees, Dr. Cheng commenced his career as a research associate at Iowa State University in 1962, later progressing to assistant professor in agronomy in 1964. Transferring to Washington State University soon thereafter, he served as an assistant professor in the department and agronomy and soils from 1965 to 1971, associate professor from 1971 to 1977, and professor from 1977 to 1989. During this time, he also acted as the chairman of the environmental science and regional planning program from 1977 to 1979. From 1986 to 1987, he held the role of interim chairman prior to concluding his tenure at the university as chairman of the environmental science and regional planning program from 1988 to 1989.
From 1989 to 2001, Dr. Cheng spent the remainder of his academic career as professor and head of the department of soil, water and climate at the University of Minnesota, where he ultimately attained emeritus status. In retirement, he continued to contribute to his industry, having been on the national research council committee of the Mississippi River and Clean Water Act from 2005 to 2007 and on the agriculture and natural resources board of the National Academy from 2003 to 2009. During his tenure in education, he visited several countries as a visiting scientist, including Germany and China. Civically, he was the former leader of the U.S. People to People Agronomy Delegate to Cuba in 2001 and to China in 1999.
In an effort to share his wealth of knowledge with his community, Dr. Cheng has contributed myriad articles to professional journals and served as an editor of multiple publications, such as the Journal of Environmental Quality, the Journal of Environmental Science and Health, and Academia Sinica. He has been a consultant editor of Pedosphere since 1991. Likewise, he has also maintained affiliation with numerous organizations to remain abreast of changes in the field, such as the American Society of Agronomy and the Soil Science Society of America, serving as president for both societies for one-year terms. Currently, he remains chair and board director of the Mississippi River Basin Institute International Cooperative and the Institute for International Development in Education and Agricultural and Life Sciences.
In recognition of his academic prowess, Dr. Cheng has accrued a plethora of accolades throughout his career. Most recently receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Berea College in 2006, he previously won the International Achievement Award from the College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences at the University of Minnesota in 2004 and the Award of Merit from the University of Minnesota chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta in 2000. Named Soil Scientist of the Year by the Minnesota Association of Professional Soil Scientists in 2003, he was a former Fulbright research scholar of State Agricultural University in Belgium from 1963 to 1964. He is also a lifetime fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Married to Jo Yuan since 1962, Dr. Cheng is the proud father of two children and four grandchildren. He has been highlighted in several editions of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, Who’s Who in the Midwest and Who’s Who in the World.
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