Ronald E. McRoberts ’69 is a mathematics alum. He received master’s and doctoral degrees in biostatistics from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Presently, McRoberts is a mathematical statistician at the Northern Research Station, U.S. Forest Service in Saint Paul. He has contributed to environmental science through his work on acid rain, sustainability, and climate change. His roles for the United Nations in international climate change studies include expert meetings, a review of satellite image-based methods for detecting deforestation, and co-authorship of the revised Good Practice Guidelines for forest monitoring under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
McRoberts has contributed to environmental assessments for the European Union, Guyana, Brazil, Russia, the Republic of Korea, and for non-governmental organizations such as the World Bank and the World Resources Institute. He has served on multiple panels for the National Science Foundation to evaluate funding proposals for climate change research. His contributions to sustainability in this country are through the National Forest Inventory and the Forests on the Edge project, which uses geographic information systems techniques to identify areas where private forest services are threatened by development, fire, insect pests, and diseases.
Elected as a Fellow by the American Statistical Association (ASA), McRoberts has received several national and international awards. He was elected to the International Statistical Institute in addition to the Italian Academy of Forest Science. The ASA selected him for their Distinguished Achievement Award and he earned the Honor Award for Excellence from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was presented with a Visiting Scholar Award from the mathematics department of the University of Göttingen in Germany.