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Alumni

Charles W. Pierce - Armour Institute, Chemical Engineering, 1901. Pierce was the first known African-American Chemical Engineer in the United States. In 1893, Pierce left his hometown of Austin, Texas and eventually settled in Chicago. In 1896, he applied to Armour Institute of Technology. Pierce was admitted to the Armour Scientific Academy, a preparatory school, before being admitted into the technical program. After graduation, he began his career as a teacher at Tuskegee Normal College, now known as Tuskegee Institute, in Alabama. He left his position at Normal College in 1907 and moved to Greensboro, N.C., where he taught at the State Agricultural and Mechanical College, the present-day North Carolina A&T, eventually heading the mechanical engineering department. Chicago began to beckon Pierce again, and in 1921, he became a physics teacher at Chicago’s Wendell Phillips High School. Later, in 1935, he moved to DuSable High School and taught science and physics until his retirement in 1941. In October 2007, during the annual Peck Lecture, the ChBE department presented the Distinguished Alumni Award to Pierce’s descendants in recognition and appreciation of his role as the first black chemical engineer in the United States.

Harris Perlstein - Armour Institute, Chemical Engineering, 1914. Perlstein’s career led him to be Chairman of the Pabst Brewing Company, he also served as board president of the Perlstein Foundation and as a director of the Pabst Breweries Foundation. In 1914, he graduated as a chemical engineer from Armour Institute of Technology, which later became IIT. He became an IIT trustee in 1935, chairing the university’s board from 1967-71. During his tenure as chair, the university acquired Chicago-Kent College of Law and established the Stuart School of Management and Finance. Perlstein Hall is named in his honor.

William F. Finkl - Armour Institute, Chemical Engineering, 1918. Finkl was an Industrialist, inventor and innovator in the steel industry. As chairman of the steel company his grandfather founded in 1879, Finkl introduced quality control into the steel industry. He invented numerous steel alloys, particularly those used in creating forging dies, and patented manufacturing processes for steel fabrication. He was an IIT trustee starting in 1948, and in 1980, IIT’s interactive television network was named for him.

Donald Othmer - Armour Institute, 1923.  World-renowned chemical engineer, innovator, and academic, Donald F. Othmer was the author of hundreds of technical articles and a founding editor of the 17-volume Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. A Distinguished Professor at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now New York University), he taught for nearly 60 years. Othmer held more than 150 patents and helped to develop the powerful World War II explosive RDX.

Maynard P. Venema - Armour Institute, Chemical Engineering, 1932. "Pete" Venema first served IIT as a student leader, then president of the Alumni Association. Elected to the Board of Trustees in 1963, he served as chairman of the board of IIT and IITRI during the 1970s and as acting president of IIT in 1973-74. He led his profession as chairman of Universal Oil Products and the Mid-America Legal Foundation.

Max Jakob - Armour Institute of Technology and Armour Research Foundation, 1936.  An internationally known expert in heat transfer, Max Jakob was a faculty member at Armour Institute of Technology and research scientist at Armour Research Foundation. Late twentieth-century scientists and textbooks continued to cite Jakob’s pioneering research on heat transfer and fluid flow, the fundamental principles which found applications in the nuclear, electronics and aerospace industries. In 1961 the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers established the Max Jakob Memorial Award.

James Oldshue - B.S. Chemical Engineering 1947; M.S., 1949; Ph.D., 1951. Oldshue was a pioneer chemical engineer and benefactor for IIT. He attended IIT on a scholarship and earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1947. He went on to pursue his M.S. degree at IIT, completed in 1949, and his Ph.D. degree, completed in 1951. He began his career as a chemical engineer at the Los Alamos Laboratories for the Manhattan Project while pursuing his Ph.D. at IIT. In 1950, he began working as a chemical engineer at the Mixing Equipment Co., in Rochester, NY. By 1963 he rose to become the Vice President of the company, a position he held until his retirement in 1993. During his time at the Mixing Equipment Co., he also held academic positions. From 1954 to 1957, Oldshue served as a chemical engineering instructor at the University of Rochester and on the Board of Directors at Springfield College in Massachusetts. In 1992, he was an Adjunct Professor of chemical engineering at the Beijing Institute of Chemical Technology in China. He also remained an active alumnus of IIT and was awarded with the Professional Achievement Award in 1982. Oldshue was also inducted into the National Academy of Engineers. He sadly passed away at the age of 81 in 2007.

Lois Bey - B.S. Chemical Engineering, 1950. Bey made history in 1950 as the first female chemical engineering graduate at IIT. Research lead her to the conclusion that a career in engineering suited her the best and she enrolled at IIT in the chemical engineering program after a brief time studying at Wight Junior College. When searching for her first job after IIT, many companies showed resistance towards hiring a woman. Curtis Wellbourne, president of Underwriters’ Laboratories, decided to give Bey a chance in gratitude for the role women played for his company during World War II. She faced many of the same obstacles at her next positions with the Armour Research Foundation and F.M. DeBeers Associates. A job offer to serve as the chief librarian for Baxter Laboratories prompted a career change for Bey. She held the position for 27 years before being hired by the Stepan Company. Bey’s influence on women engineers is immeasurable. She is recognized by the Society of Women Engineers as a pioneer in the industry and a lifelong member. The IIT Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering also presented Bey with its 2001 Distinguished Alumni Award in honor of her legacy as the first woman graduate of the department.

Henry R. Linden - B.S. Chemical Engineering, 1952. Linden, an expert on energy, is known for his research in petrochemical and synthetic fuels processes, including coal gasification. He started as a research professor in chemical engineering at IIT in 1954. He was president of the Institute of Gas Technology, organized the Gas Development Corporation and the Gas Research Institute, and has served as a government adviser in energy research, development and policy since the 1960s. He served as IIT’s president from 1989-90. Linden was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his contributions to methods of fuel conversion and energy utilization.

IIT Hall of Fame

Max Jakob - Armour Institute of Technology and Armour Research Foundation, 1936.  An internationally known expert in heat transfer, Max Jakob was a faculty member at Armour Institute of Technology and research scientist at Armour Research Foundation. Late twentieth-century scientists and textbooks continued to cite Jakob’s pioneering research on heat transfer and fluid flow, the fundamental principles which found applications in the nuclear, electronics and aerospace industries. In 1961 the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers established the Max Jakob Memorial Award.

Donald Othmer - Armour Institute, 1923.  World-renowned chemical engineer, innovator, and academic, Donald F. Othmer was the author of hundreds of technical articles and a founding editor of the 17-volume Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. A Distinguished Professor at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now New York University), he taught for nearly 60 years. Othmer held more than 150 patents and helped to develop the powerful World War II explosive RDX.

Maynard P. Venema - Armour Institute, Chemical Engineering, 1932. "Pete" Venema first served IIT as a student leader, then president of the Alumni Association. Elected to the Board of Trustees in 1963, he served as chairman of the board of IIT and IITRI during the 1970's and as acting president of IIT from 1973-74. He led his profession as chairman of Universal Oil Products and the Mid-America Legal Foundation.

Current Members of the IIT Board of Trustees

Harold Singleton, III - Chemical Engineering 1963, Trustee of IIT. Harold Singleton, III is the Global Head of Retail and Intermediary Sales at PineBridge Investments, LLC. Mr. Singleton joined PineBridge in 2007 as a Member of the Global Equity Team. Prior to joining PineBridge Investments, Mr. Singleton held postions at UBS Global Asset Management (Americas), West Capital Management, LLC, Brinson Partners, Inc., and Fifth Third Bank.  He served as a Director for PineBridge Investments Ireland Limited from December 2010 to May 2012 and PineBridge Investments India Limited from April 2011 to May 2012.  He has served as an Independent Directors of Vantagepoint Funds of The Vantagepoint Funds - Vantagepoint 500 Stock Index Fund since
October 1, 2013.  He is a CFA charterholder. Mr. Singleton received an MBA in Finance from The University of Chicago and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Illinois Institute of
Technology.

Victor Morgenstern - Chemical Engineering 1964, Trustee of IIT. Victor “Vic” Morgenstern serves as chairman of Valor Equity Partners. His highly successful investment career spans 40 years and was preceded by a career as a patent attorney. He was one of the founding principals of Harris Associates, a Chicago-based investment advisory firm and served as its president, chief executive officer, and chairman. He was also president and later chairman of The Oakmark Family of Funds.  Morgenstern is an active trustee at IIT. In 1994, he was elected to the IIT Board of Trustees. In 2008, he was named a Life Trustee; he currently serves on the Executive Committee and is a vice-chair of the Board. Prior to his Board service, he served IIT as a member of the Board of Overseers for both the IIT College of Architecture (COA) and IIT Institute of Design, including serving as chair of the COA board.  He received his BS in Chemical Engineering at IIT and a JD at American University.

Michael J. Graff - Chemical Engineering 1977, Trustee of IIT  Michael Graff, who has 30 years of experience in the energy, chemicals and polymers industries across the Americas, Europe, and Asia, serves as the chairman and chief executive officer of American Air Liquide Holdings, Inc. He is a member of Air Liquide Group's executive committee and heads Air Liquide's Industrial Gas businesses in North America, South America and the Caribbean from its Houston headquarters. He is the global chairman of the Electronics World Business Line and has global oversight for Safety and Industrial Systems (SIS). He earned his degree in chemical engineering from Illinois Tech in 1977. 

ChBE Alumni and Faculty Who Are Members of NAE

John E. Anderson (M.S. ChE ’51)

Elected 1991

For combining novel engineering concepts with combustion science to reduce atmospheric pollution and improve fuel efficiency in industrial combustion processes

John L. Anderson, Distinguished Professor, IIT

Elected 1992

Election Citation: For contributions to the understanding of colloidal hydrodynamics and membrane transport phenomena

Donald W. Bahr (M.S. Gas Eng. ’51)

Elected 1991

For creative and pioneering effort in high-performance aircraft engine combustion systems design and the reduction of their pollutant emissions.

Lorenz Biegler, Chairman of Chemical Engineering, B.S. ChE '77

Elected 2013

For contributions in large-scale nonlinear optimization theory and algorithms for application to process optimization, design and control.

Kenneth Bischoff (B.S. ChE ’57, Ph.D. ChE ’61)

Elected 1988

For excellence in research and education in chemical reaction engineering and in biomedical engineering.

David A. Edwards (B.S. ChE ’87)

Elected 2001

For transfer of scientific principles of engineering to industry, including invention and commercial development of a novel, generic aerosol drug-delivery system

John F. Kahles (B.S. ChE ’39)

Elected 1984

For pioneering research on correlating processing practices with their effects on surfaces and improving productivity by effective dissemination of useful data on metal removal.

Henry Linden (Ph.D. ChE ’52)

Elected 1974

Contributions to methods of fuels conversion and energy utilization.

Octave Levenspiel, Professor IIT 1958-1962 (Deceased)

Elected 2000

Election Citation: For contributions in chemical reaction engineering and introducing these into the profession as a cornerstone of the basic curriculum.  

James Oldshue (B.S. ChE ’47, M.S. ChE ’49, Ph.D. ChE ’51) (Deceased)

Elected 1980

Pioneering work in establishing the fluid mechanics of mixing and its practical application to industrial and municipal processing.

W. Robert Marshall (B.S. ChE ’38) (Deceased)

Elected 1967

For contributions to chemical engineering profession

G. “Rex” Reklaitis (B.S. ChE ’65)

Elected 2007

For developing the theory and application of batch design, scheduling and optimization tools and for outstanding contributions to education.

Dr. Darsh Wasan, Vice President, Motorola Chair in Chemical Engineering and University Distinguished Professor| Illinois Institute of Technology

Elected 2004

Election Citation: For pioneering research, inspirational teaching, and the development of novel technology in colloidal processing and interfacial rheology.

Charles W. Pierce Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients

2018   

Scott Zhang, Honeywell Technology Solutions

2017   

Ranga Narayanan, University of Florida

2016   

James Ondyak, Dorf Ketal Chemical

Seung-Hyeon Moon, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology

2015  

Michael J. Graff, American Air Liquide Holdings

Venu Menon, Texas Instruments

2014 

Ray Adomaitis, University of Maryland

2013 

Madhava Syamlal, National Energy Technology Laboratory

Michael Adewumi, Penn State University

 Wen Ryan, Amgen Inc.



2012 

T.S. Ramakrishnan, Schlumberger

2011 

James E. Stice, University of Arkansas

Ben. J. McCoy, University of California, Davis

2010 

Christopher T. Hill, George Mason University

2009  

Hank Kohlbrand, Dow Chemical

Dimitri Gidaspow, Illinois Institute of Technology

2007 

Charles W. Pierce, First IIT ChE graduate and first African American ChE graduate

2005 

Robert Boydston, Robert E.& Adele M. Boydston Foundation

Larry Biegler, Carnegie Mellon University

2004 

Ravi Randhava, United Technologies, Inc

2003 

Hamid Arastoopour, Illinois Institute of Technology

2002 

Rex Reklaitis, Purdue University

2001

Lois bey, Illinois Institute of Technology

Richard Chylla, Michigan State University

2000

S.R. Cho, Hyosung Group

1999

Alan Hirsig, Chairman of Advisory Board of Prime

1998

Richard G. Carlson, Dow Chemical Company 

1997

Robert Anderson, UOP LLC

1996

Kenneth B. Bischoff, University of Delaware

1995

Bernard Gamson, Aluminium Company Executive

Henry R. Linden, American Chemist and University President of Gas Technology

1994

Maynard P. Venema, Chairman of Universal Oil Products

John P. Sachs, AIChE Foundation Trustee

Bernard S. Baker, President, CEO and Chairman of Energy Research Corporation

Outstanding Young Alumni's Award Recipient 

2018

Danielle Tullman-Ecrek, Northwestern University