Distinguished Lecture Series

The Colorado School of Mines Faculty Senate Distinguished Lecturer Award was established in 1990 as a means for the Mines faculty to annually honor one of their outstanding colleagues.

Nominations for the award are solicited from all faculty members. Nominees, who may be either active or retired members of the faculty or administration, represent people who are admired and respected by their peers in their role as educators and for their reputation for having stimulating ideas to convey and ability to communicate those ideas effectively.

The recipient, selected from the nominations by a committee of past honorees, and approved by the Mines Faculty Senate, is invited to make a presentation on a topic of his or her choice.

The honorees are further awarded a commemorative plaque and a monetary gift to their discretionary account by the Mines Provost and Executive Vice President.

Contact Us

Andrew Herring

Faculty Senate President
Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering
464 Alderson Hall
(303) 384-2082

2021 Distinguished Lecture

Modern Steels: To Infinity and Beyond


Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Student Center Grand Ballrooms, 3:30 pm open house, 4:00 pm program

Steel development for important markets like automobile manufacturing, construction, machinery, energy, etc. has been ongoing for generations. New steel products have enabled steel to play a continuing and important role in the economy and society.

Because of the relentless pressure to improve the performance of manufactured products, steel developments are occurring faster than ever in some areas today, and these developments require close coupling with user industries (to ensure manufacturability and performance in service) and constant modernization of steel producing facilities.

Students and faculty across departments and research centers at Colorado School of Mines have been deeply embedded in many of these developments over the past few decades. This lecture will provide the campus with some background related to the global steel industry and its importance to modern life, and some historical perspectives of interest to a broad campus audience of faculty, staff and students.

A few current steel developments and challenges will also be highlighted briefly, along with some insights that the speaker may have picked up along the way in his journey supporting the industry and Mines’ role in its progress.


John SpeerJohn G. Speer is the American Bureau of Shipping Chair & Professor of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering and Director of the Advanced Steel Processing and Products Research Center. Speer was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and earned a BS from Lehigh University and a PhD in Physical Metallurgy from the University of Oxford, UK. He was affiliated with the Homer Research Laboratories of Bethlehem Steel Corporation from 1983-1997, where he was involved in product research, customer and operations support, and research management. He became a professor in the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at Colorado School of Mines in 1997, and has been active in teaching, research and service at Mines since that time. Speer also served as Mines’ Associate Vice-President for Research from 2008-2013. He is a Distinguished Member of AIST, Fellow of ASM International, a member of NAE and past president of AIME, the American Institute for Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers.