Professor Tom Edgar Awarded Chemical Engineering's Top Service Honor

Tom Edgar, professor of chemical engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, accepted the F. J. and Dorothy Van Antwerpen Award for Service from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) recently at the association's annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Dr. Tom Edgar
Dr. Tom Edgar

The award, sponsored by The Dow Chemical Co., recognizes Edgar's service and professional leadership contributions in chemical engineering, particularly for AIChE.

"The world faces many challenges today, but chemical engineers, as demonstrated by award winners like Tom Edgar, have the innovative spirit and skills to solve them," said Henry T. "Hank" Kohlbrand, president of AIChE.

Edgar, the George T. and Gladys H. Abell Chair in Engineering, has held influential positions for AIChE for nearly 40 years, including president in 1997. An initial AIChE Foundation Board of Trustees member, he has served continuously on the board since 1990, was vice-chair in 2000 and chaired the board from 2002-08.

He initiated several successful AIChE Foundation fund-raising campaigns, increased board membership by 60 percent by personally recruiting 24 new members and reorganized the board into a more effective committee.

Edgar has also been president or chair for other professional groups affiliated with AIChE, including: The Council for Chemical Research, American Automatic Control Council and Computer Aids for Chemical Engineering.

At The University of Texas at Austin he was department chair, associate dean of engineering and associate vice president for computing between 1984 and 2001. As chair, he increased the graduate program from 80 to 160 students and tripled the number of Ph.D.'s in residence. He also served on eight advisory boards and co-authored three significant textbooks. His research was recognized by AIChE in 1980 with the Allan P. Colburn Award and the CAST Division Award in 1995. Edgar's accomplishments as an educator were honored with the AIChE Warren K. Lewis Award in 2005.

"We are pleased Tom received this distinguished award. His leadership in process control and service with AIChE truly warrants this recognition," said Chemical Engineering Department Chair Dr. Roger Bonnecaze. "Achievements like Tom's contribute to the university continually being acknowledged as one of the top five chemical engineering departments nationwide. Most important, Tom continues to be an excellent teacher and adviser to hundreds of students."

Notes to editors:

A video of Dr. Edgar receiving his award is available for publication.

The Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin includes 26 faculty and 16 staff members, 726 undergraduates and 176 graduate students. The department generates $13.5 million in annual research funding and manages strong research programs in polymeric materials, microelectronics, energy sciences, sustainability and bioengineering. Faculty host seven members of the National Academy of Engineering, four AIChE Colburn Award winners, three Packard Fellows and two National Medal of Technology and Innovation Laureates. The department was recently recognized in the top five for doctoral programs by the National Research Council and ranks in the top six best engineering schools, according to U.S. News and World Report.

AIChE is a professional association of 40,000 chemical engineers in 92 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities and government, using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society.