John A. Herbst, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, has been named to the Robert E. Murray Endowed Chair of West Virginia University’s Department of Mining Engineering, effective August 16, 2015.

Herbst has achieved an outstanding reputation both nationally and internationally in the area of metallurgy and mineral processing. He has spent more than 40 years in academia, most of it at the University of Utah, which included a nine-year stint as chair of the Department of Metallurgy.

“I have worked closely at the interface between academia and industry throughout most of my professional career,” said Herbst. “I consider this position at WVU to be a unique opportunity to enhance collaboration between some of the potentially best mining researchers and top mining executives.

Dean (Gene) Cilento of the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources has committed his support to strengthening and growing the Department of Mining Engineering at WVU using the resources of the College,” Herbst added. “I personally promise to help make our graduates among the best trained in the country not only in coal mining and cleaning but also for metalliferous mining and extraction.”

Herbst has also had a very productive career in industry and as a consultant in extractive metallurgy and mineral processing. He served as president and chief executive office of Control International and, in 1995, he formed JA Herbst & Associates, where he developed software for mining and mineral processing plant simulation. The company was eventually sold to Svedala, a Swedish equipment manufacturer; Herbst remained on as general manager and subsequently was named chief scientist of Metso Minerals of Finland.

A professional engineer, Herbst earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in metallurgical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Northwestern University.

Herbst is well-prepared for the task, according to Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

“Dr. Herbst is an accomplished educator and researcher who brings a very prestigious set of credentials to West Virginia University,” said Cilento. “This is a crucial time in the mining industry and we need to do all we can to help promote technological advancements that support its future. His vision and ability to work across different sectors of the industry will serve to promote this state and our University nationally as a leader in the energy sector.”

Herbst replaces Syd Peng, who served as interim chair following the death of former chair, Christopher Bise earlier this year.



CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

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