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News @ Tech
December 2, 2008
Hungarian university bestows honorary doctorate on forestry professor
Sallie Hollis

A research professor in Louisiana Tech’s School of Forestry has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the Faculty Senate of the University of Western Hungary in Sopron, Hungary.

Dr. George Grozdits, an assistant professor of research at Tech, has been associated with the university system of Hungary for the past 54 years through forestry and wood engineering. His degree is the 37th honorary doctorate the 273-year-old university has awarded.

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The University of Western Hungary, which prides itself as a “green university,” was established in 2000 by joining seven centuries-old independent colleges. The origin of one of those seven institutions, Sopron University, was the University of Forestry and Wood Sciences, founded in 1735 as a school that trained mining officials.

At Tech, Grozdits works in the Institute for Micromanufacturing in “smart paper” research in cooperation with Dr. Yuri Lvov, a professor of chemistry. The research uses layer-by-layer molecular self-assembly in an effort to improve paper production through nanocoating. Tech’s Nano Pulp and Paper Initiative, in which Grozdits participates, seeks to produce paper with fewer mineral and chemical additives, to improve paper recycling, and to provide large energy savings and resource and environmental conservation.

Grozdits is a wood technologist involved in studying woody tissue formation, the ultra-structure of cellulosic fibers and surface properties affecting wood composite formation. All of these areas ultimately culminated in current nanotechnology research.

Grozdits’ education history includes emigrating to Canada, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in forestry from the University of British Columbia in 1959. He later obtained a master’s of science and doctorate from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. Following the Hungarian Revolution, the Hungarian Forest Engineering College reinstated its emigrants and granted each the diploma of forest engineering. He is currently a doctoral student in engineering at Louisiana Tech.

In a statement in News of the Infinitesimal, the Institute for Micromanufacturing newsletter, Grozdits thanked Lvov for his “innovation and foresight to move (layer-by-layer) nanocoating into the cellulosic fiber industry for better smart paper.”

“For the opportunity to be able to work and create at Louisiana Tech,” Grozdits also thanked Dr. Mark Gibson, director of Tech’s School of Forestry; other IfM colleagues; and Tech’s College of Engineering and Science as a whole. Grozdits cited Tech President Daniel D. Reneau for the creation of the university’s bioengineering/nanotechnolgy area.

This support contributed to his receiving the award, Grozdits said.