BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Three eminent scholars in three different fields were presented with the highest honor an Indiana University president can bestow.
Dr. Richard Miyamoto, the Arilla Spence DeVault Professor Emeritus of Otolaryngology in the IU School of Medicine, IU Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts Rudy Pozzatti and IU Professor Emerita of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Lisa Pratt received the President's Medal for Excellence at the 12th annual Academic Excellence Dinner on Oct. 17.
"It is an honor to present Dr. Miyamoto, professor Rudy Pozzatti and professor Lisa Pratt with the President's Medal for Excellence," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. "They have all made enormous and legendary contributions in their respective fields. In different ways, all three have dedicated themselves to the great spirit of education and scholarship that extends far beyond the walls of the academy."
The medal, which reproduces in silver the jewel of office worn by IU's president at ceremonies, is given to recognize exceptional distinction in public service, service to the university, achievement in a profession or extraordinary merit and achievement in the arts, humanities, sciences, education and industry.
Dr. Richard Miyamoto
Miyamoto is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of cochlear implantation in children and adults.
Soon after becoming a faculty member at IU in 1978, Miyamoto worked with Dr. William House, the creator of the modern cochlear implant and known as the "Father of Neurotology," to establish the first clinical trial in the United States of the implants, which are small electronic devices that restore the ability to perceive sounds in those who are born deaf.
As the only co-investigator affiliated with an academic medical center, Miyamoto was instrumental in getting cochlear implants approved by the Food and Drug Administration. He also led the charge to make cochlear implants available to children of younger and younger ages, allowing them to hear in the critical first months and years of life when their brains are developing speech and language skills.
Miyamoto earned an M.D. from the University of Michigan and completed his residency in otolaryngology at the IU School of Medicine. He subsequently earned a master's degree in otology from the University of Southern California, served in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps as assistant director of the Physician's Assistant Program and as chief of otolaryngology, and he completed a fellowship in otology and neurotology at the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles.
Miyamoto was appointed as chair of the IU School of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in 1987 and continued to serve in the position until 2014. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Medicine and the Royal Society of Medicine.
He was elected president of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the Association of Academic Departments of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and the American Neurotology Society. He has also been elected to the Collegium Oto-Rhino-Laryngologicum Amicitiae Sacrum.
Earlier this year, he received the Ritchey Emeriti Faculty Award, which recognizes emeritus faculty members of the IU School of Medicine who continue to serve the school after retirement.
One of the most renowned American printmakers of the second half of the 20th century, Pozzatti is a prolific artist and master printmaker. He has produced thousands of works of art, including prints, drawings, sculptures, paintings and three-dimensional pieces during his distinguished career.
He was an instrumental figure in the development of the American print as a serious art form in the 1950s and early 1960s and has since remained one of the nation's leading fine art printmakers, having mastered the arts of intaglio, woodcuts, silkscreen and lithography.
Pozzatti began his formal studies of art as an undergraduate at the University of Colorado. His education there was interrupted by his service in the U.S. Army during World War II, during which he served in the 659th Field Artillery Battalion and fought in the Battle of the Bulge as part of Gen. George Patton's Seventh Army. Following the war, he completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts the University of Colorado. He then taught at the University of Nebraska.
Pozzatti joined the Indiana University faculty as an assistant professor of drawing and painting in 1956 and built the IU printmaking program into one of the finest in the country. He and David Keister, one of his former MFA students and a master printer at Landfall Press in Chicago, founded the legendary Echo Press in Bloomington in 1979, where limited edition fine-art prints and books were published until it closed in 1995.
He was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1981 and won the Indiana Governor's Art Award that same year.
His work is displayed around the world, including in the White House, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and in a number of corporate and university art collections.
Pratt serves as planetary protection officer at NASA after having been a member of the IU faculty for more than 20 years.
As planetary protection officer, Pratt is responsible for protecting the planet from microscopic threats originating on other planets, for guarding against potential contamination by extraterrestrial life forms, including potential microorganisms that could live in the ice or groundwater of Mars, and for leading the effort to prevent accidental transportation of Earth's microbes to other planets through exploratory probes.
She previously served as a team director at the NASA Astrobiology Institute from 2003 to 2008 and as chair of NASA's Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group from 2013 to 2016. She also was a member of the Return Sample Science Board for the Mars 2020 Rover mission, which is responsible for advanced planning related to the safe transportation of Martian samples to Earth for analysis.
Pratt holds a Ph.D. in geology from Princeton University, a master's degree in geology from the University of North Carolina and a master's degree in botany from the University of Illinois.
In 2009, she received the Bloomington campus's inaugural appointment as Provost Professor, a titled appointment previously known as the Chancellor's Professor. She also served as associate executive dean in IU Bloomington's College of Arts and Sciences. Her research at IU focused on understanding how microorganisms adapt to extreme environments.
In 2011, she and Jeffrey White, a professor in the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, co-led a $2.4 million grant from NASA's Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets program to study methane emissions and microbial life on the margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet.
Pratt is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the IU College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Distinguished Faculty Member award and the Office for Women's Affairs IU Distinguished Scholar Award. She has also received the Outstanding Educator Award, the Distinguished Lecturer Award and the Matson Award from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.