Missouri University of Science and Technology awarded six honorary professional degrees during winter commencement ceremonies held Friday, Dec. 14, and Saturday, Dec. 15. The degrees recognize the outstanding Missouri S&T graduates for professional achievement.
The following S&T alumni received degrees:
Dr. C. Dennis Croessmann, chief of staff for the chief technology officer at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), earned a bachelor of science degree in nuclear engineering from Missouri S&T in 1981. He earned master of science and Ph.D. degrees in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1983 and 1986, respectively. He previously served as senior manager responsible for integrated planning for SNL’s post-Cold War technical collaborations with the Russian nuclear weapons laboratories to develop nuclear material and nuclear warhead monitoring technologies for international applications. A member of the Missouri S&T Nuclear Engineering Industrial Advisory Board and the Missouri S&T Academy of Mines and Metallurgy, Croessman lives in Edgewood, N.M.
Thomas M. DeGonia II, a state and federal court litigator, earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from Missouri S&T in 1993. He also graduated from the American University-Washington College of Law. DeGonia served in the Office of Counsel to the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of State and was an assistant state’s attorney for Montgomery County. He has served as a special prosecutor in Maryland and a federal court-appointed member of a civil rights monitoring team. DeGonia is a member of the Maryland, Federal and American Bar Associations and is admitted to the bars of the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the Maryland U.S. District Court and the Maryland Court of Appeals. He lives in Olney, Md.
Dale W. Leidy Sr. earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Missouri S&T in 1961. Leidy began his 35-year career as a student trainee for the glass container division of Owens-Illinois Inc. He served as a plant manager, area manufacturing manager and division vice president. He also served as division vice president of manufacturing and engineering for the plastic products division. He returned to the glass division as manufacturing manager and was elected as a corporate officer. Leidy was appointed as technical director of the corporation and retired from that position in 1996. A member of the Missouri S&T Academy of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineers, Leidy lives with his wife in Moreland, Ga.
Robert E. Low is president of Prime Inc., a leader in the transportation industry. With a fleet of 5,000 tractors, Prime’s gross revenue last year was $1 billion. Low is vice president at-large of the American Trucking Association, on the executive committee and its board of directors. He is current chair of the Truckload Carriers Association and serves on its board of directors. Low was named Transport Topics 2002 Refrigerated Carrier CEO of the Year, is a recipient of the “Missourian” award, and was an Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011. He serves on the board of directors of Bethel University in McKenzie, Tenn. The Lows also own the Palace Casino Resort in Biloxi, Miss.
Jeffrey W. Sheets, executive vice president of finance and chief financial officer for ConocoPhillips, earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Missouri S&T in 1980. Throughout a 32-year career that started with Phillips Petroleum in 1980, Sheets has served in a in a variety of engineering, commercial and financial positions for the company, both in the U.S. and foreign locations. He has held his current position since 2010. Sheets also earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Houston in 1989. A member of the Academy of Chemical Engineers, Sheets lives in Houston with his wife Pat, a 1980 chemical engineering graduate. They have two sons.
Bryan A. Stirrat, president of Tetra Tech–BAS, earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1967. He also earned master of science degrees in petroleum engineering and environmental engineering from the University of Southern California. Stirrat founded Bryan A. Stirrat and Associates, a consulting firm specializing in solid waste engineering and environmental remediation, and BAS Construction Co. He co-founded Geologic Associates, a geotechnical engineering company. BAS acquired KFM Engineering and WEC Engineering and then was acquired by Tetra Tech. Tetra Tech-BAS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tetra Tech. A member of the Missouri S&T Academy of Civil Engineers, Stirrat lives in Diamond Bar, Calif.