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Honorees receive U’s highest alumni accolade

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (10/30/2015)—The University of Minnesota Board of Regents honored two College of Science and Engineering alumni with the Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA) for 2015. The award is given to University of Minnesota graduates, or former students of the University, who have attained unusual distinction in their chosen fields or professions or in public service, and who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership on a community, state, national, or international level.

The alumni receiving awards are:

Tu Chen (Metal Eng M.S. ’64, Ph.D. ’67, ChemE ’67)
Co-founder and retired Board Chairman of Komag, Inc.

An exceptional materials scientist and engineer and often recognized as the father of the modern disk drive, Chen was honored for his work in developing a revolutionary sputtering process to produce vastly improved magnetic thin films and disks. To capitalize on this technology, Chen co-founded Komag, Inc. He built the company into the world’s largest independent supplier of hard disk media, a pivotal development in the growth of the personal computer industry. A superlative model of the international citizen and scientist, Chen actively supports political reform and technological development in Taiwan, his home country.

Thomas Rusch (EE ’68, M.S. ’70, Ph.D. ’73, M.S. MOT ’93)
Co-founder and Chief Technical Officer, Xoft, Inc.

Rusch, a distinguished engineer, was honored for his work in developing electron and ion spectroscopies for surface chemical characterization. To bring his innovations to the marketplace, he founded Creekside Technologies, a consulting and device company. In 1998, Rusch co-founded Xoft, Inc. and led the development of a microtube X-ray system that has already treated more than 6,000 patients with early-stage breast cancer in a minimally-invasive manner. As an extraordinary business leader, Rusch combines incisive knowledge and a keen ability to focus with warmth and humor, bringing out the best in his employees.