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USU's Natural Resources Dean Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Thursday, May. 03, 2012

USU Professor Chris Luecke
Professor Chris Luecke, who serves as interim dean of USU's College of Natural Resources, received the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Utah Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.
USU professor Chris Luecke and students doing field work
Luecke, right, instructs students during a field trip. He is described by students and colleagues as a 'consummate scientist, teacher, administrator and mentor.'

Utah State University professor Chris Luecke received the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Utah Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. Luecke, who currently serves as interim dean for USU’s College of Natural Resources, was honored at a March 27 banquet during the society’s annual meeting in Bullfrog, Utah.


“Dr. Luecke is recognized for his outstanding contributions in research, education and administration during his 34-year fisheries career,” said Craig Walker, UTAFS president and aquatic habitat coordinator with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. “He is a remarkable educator, mentor and leader.”


Luecke, who joined the faculty of USU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in 1988, established research and teaching programs in fish ecology. He served as head of the department from 2000-02 and continued as head of the newly formed Department of Watershed Sciences from 2002 until Nov. 2011, when he assumed his current interim post as dean. During his service as department head, Watershed Sciences received USU’s 2011 Department Teaching Excellence Award.


“I’m humbled and honored by this award,” Luecke says. “It was especially gratifying to look out at the banquet audience and see so many of my former students.”


Along with his administrative appointments, Luecke has maintained an active and productive program of research at the National Science Foundation-funded Long-Term Ecological Research site at Toolik Lake in arctic Alaska. He also pursues a range of research projects on reservoir fishes in Utah.


Professor Phaedra Budy, a former student of Luecke and now his colleague in the Department of Watershed Sciences, says the honoree is “a consummate scientist.”


“I couldn’t have had a better mentor,” she says. “Chris pushed me to understand the ‘whole ecosystem.’ He’s patient and open-minded — a fabulous scientist with a huge heart.”


Graduating senior Todd Wright, who earned a bachelor’s degree in fisheries and aquatic sciences, says, as a prospective student, he felt confident he’d found the right academic program after one visit with Luecke.


“He and the rest of the faculty and staff were so welcoming and top-notch in helping me accomplish goals that I didn’t think were possible,” says Wright, who served as president of USU’s student AFS chapter.


During his tenure at USU, Luecke has supervised numerous undergraduate researchers, as well as graduate students. He has also published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals.


Luecke earned his doctorate in zoology from the University of Washington in 1986. He completed a master’s degree in ecology and systematics in 1981 and a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1978; both from the University of Kansas.


Related links:

USU Department of Watershed Sciences

USU College of Natural Resources


Contact: Chris Luecke, 435-797-2445, chris.luecke@usu.edu

Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517, maryann.muffoletto@usu.edu

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