Judson Professor Rolf Myhrman Recognized by American Baptist Home Mission Societies
(Elgin, IL – August 25, 2011) Dr. Rolf Myhrman of Elgin received the Luther Wesley Smith Education Award from the American Baptist Home Mission Societies during Judson University’s August 24 chapel service, which marked the opening of Judson’s academic year.
In nominating Myhrman for the recognition, Judson Science and Math Department Chair Peter Sandberg described Myhrman’s commitment to teaching science in this way:
“Dr. Myhrman has been a professor of chemistry at Judson University for 38 years teaching science majors and the general student body. Over the years he has worked with numerous students, guiding them in research projects and laboratory experiences. As the primary chemistry instructor on campus, he has taught a broad range of chemistry subjects over the years. He has also developed relationships with industries in the area to help secure donations of chemistry equipment to use with his students.”
According to Sandberg, Myhrman’s work has also included advising and guiding students who enter various health profession fields, often with the idea of becoming missionary doctors around the world. Fifteen years ago, Myhrman began working with the World Hunger Research Center to study how the velvet bean could become a more viable and safe food option in tropical climates, where the bean grows rapidly. The velvet bean unfortunately contains large amounts of a chemical compound that can cause hallucinations and other harmful effects, making it unsafe for consumption. Due to this limitation, hunger organizations have been exploring ways that velvet beans might be prepared that would remove the harmful components.
Over the years, Myhrman would partner with organizations in Africa or Central America to receive samples of beans or bean flour to Judson where Myhrman and his students would use Judson’s laboratory equipment to measure and report back the concentration of the harmful chemical. Several methods have been developed over the years that have significantly reduced this concentration. Back in the countries of origination, the hunger workers have begun training the populations how to appropriately use this food source.
Sandberg closed the nomination by describing Myhrman as a committed Christian believer. “He and his family have been an active part of the First Baptist Church of Elgin for three decades. His commitment to being a Christ follower is conveyed to his students as much as his commitment to the subject of chemistry.”
Myhrman’s recognition is one bestowed by the American Baptist Home Mission Societies each biennium. Individuals receiving the award must be related to the American Baptist Churches USA and have worked to strengthen the educational program at an American-Baptist related college or seminary.