The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) announced Dr. Edward M. Mikhail, professor emeritus of civil engineering at Purdue University, as the 2018 recipient of the Foundation’s Arthur C. Lundahl-Thomas C. Finnie Lifetime Achievement Award. Mikhail is the 14th individual to receive this prestigious award and was recognized on stage during USGIF’s GEOINT 2018 Symposium general session.
“Dr. Mikhail has devoted his half-century professional life supporting the Intelligence Community, fostering the development of new tradecraft, and teaching and inspiring the next generation of GEOINT professionals,” said The Honorable Jeffrey K. Harris, chairman of USGIF’s Board of Directors. “The USGIF Board of Directors is happy to recognize the lifetime achievements of this distinguished and accomplished academic whose tireless efforts have helped us all measure and geo-locate with improved precision and accuracy.”
Mikhail has devoted 50 years of his professional life to supporting the Intelligence Community, both directly and indirectly. He joined Purdue University in 1965 and established what became a nationally and internationally leading graduate program in geomatics engineering. Although he is retired from the university, Mikhail continues to support the graduate program as a mentor to younger faculty and Ph.D. students. He has also contributed to the community through research and support as a subject matter expert. Mikhail’s impact can be seen not only through the knowledge imparted to his students, but also in the many books and extensive publications he has authored.
“I am profoundly honored to receive this award,” Mikhail said. “As the only educator to be selected, I consider myself very privileged to join such a respected group of outstanding past awardees who have been stalwarts in safeguarding the security and well-being of our nation. In fact, I believe this award should be rightly given to my former graduate students who have developed into exceptional scientists and engineers, leading the GEOINT Community to cutting-edge technological advances. I feel fortunate and honored to have had the opportunity to have worked with such exceptional people by simply providing them with the environment to develop their innate talents and hone their skills.”
Mikhail has also received technical recognition awards from the U.S. Government Office of Research and Development and the National Reconnaissance Office, and was selected as an honorary member of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. Additionally, in 2017, former students and colleagues recognized him with the establishment of two endowments in his honor that benefit incoming graduate students at Purdue.
The Lundahl-Finnie award recipient is nominated and voted upon annually by the USGIF Board of Directors. This distinguished award is named for Arthur C. Lundahl and Thomas C. Finnie, celebrating their accomplishments—in imagery analysis and mapping, respectively—and their legacies within the GEOINT Community. Lundahl is known as the father of modern imagery intelligence and analysis, and was the founding director of the National Photographic Interpretation Center. Finnie served as the Defense Mapping Agency’s director of management and technology, and was one of the primary architects of the agency’s evolution into the digital era.