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Ralph Peck Memorial Lecture Series

The Ralph Peck Lecture Series began in the late 1970s and is held in honor of Ralph Peck, a dynamic teacher and researcher, who was chairman of the chemical engineering department from 1953 to 1967.

Lecturers are selected via nominations by the department faculty and voted on by a department committee. Previous lecturers have come from all over the country and from academia, government organizations and corporations.

About Ralph Peck

Ralph Peck was a dynamic teacher and researcher whose genuine concern for students made him a legendary figure at Illinois Institute of Technology and in the field of chemical engineering. After receiving his bachelor and P.hD. degrees from the University of Minnesota, he introduced his own method of teaching, “the ten minute quiz,” for which he became famous—or infamous.

Ted F. Meinhold (B.S. ChE '43) of Wauconda, Ill. writes, "My favorite professors were Harry McCormak and Ralph Peck both in the chemical engineering department. Tough task masters, but splendid tutors!"

In 1939, he came to Armour Institute of Technology, now IIT, as an instructor in chemical engineering and quickly rose through the faculty ranks. In 1953, he became chairman of the department of chemical engineering at IIT, and held that post until 1967.

He traveled extensively, introducing his teaching methods and philosophy in India, Israel, Brazil, Algeria, Korea and Japan. He also supervised 100 masters and 33 PhD degree candidates. Four patents were issued in his name.

He received the Excellence in Teaching Award from IIT in 1973, and the Western Electric Fund Award for Teaching Excellence for 1975-76 from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). He was a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and a member of the American Chemical Society and the ASEE. He died in Chicago in 1982.

Previous Peck Lecturers

Kristi Anseth - University of Colorado - Boulder
G.V Rexlaitis - Purdue University
Matthew Tirrell - University of Chicago
Richard Flagan - California Institute of Technology
Ronald G. Larson - University of Michigan
Jefferson W. Tester - Cornell University
John L. Anderson - Illinois Institute of Technology
Richard C. Alkire - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Robert F. Anderson - UOP LLC
Bernard S. Baker - Energy Research Corporation
Richard G. Carlson - Dow Chemical Company
Reg Davies - DuPont Central R & D
Liang-Shih Fan - The Ohio State University
Klavs F. Jensen - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Henry T. Kohlbrand - The Dow Chemical Company
Robert Langer - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Henry R. Linden - Gas Research Institute, Illinois Institute of Technology
Regina M. Murphy - University of Wisconsin - Madison
James Y. Oldshue - Lightnin Corporation
Charles O’Melia - The Johns Hopkins University
W. Harmon Ray - University of Wisconsin
M.C. Roco - National Science Foundation
John P. Sachs - Great Lakes Carbon Corporation
Gregory Stephanopoulos - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Marvin Warshay - NASA Lewis Research Center
Thomas A. Weil - Amoco Chemical Company
Robert M. Wellek - National Science Foundation
Ahmed Zewail - California Institute of Technology