AUSTIN, Texas — The National Academy of Engineering has elected Benny Freeman, a professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, to the academy for 2023. Alumnus Fariborz Maseeh, who received a master’s degree in civil engineering from UT Austin, has also been elected.
Election to the academy is among the highest professional distinctions bestowed upon an engineer. Membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research and practice, including pioneering new and developing fields of technology and making major advancements in the engineering field and profession. In all, 106 new members and 18 foreign members joined the NAE in 2023.
“Throughout his career, Benny has been a pioneer in the understanding, design and engineering of membrane materials for both water purification and gas separation, and Fariborz’s leadership in the development of microelectromechanical systems and software advancements has had a significant impact on society,” said Roger Bonnecaze, dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering. “We are extremely proud to call them Texas Engineers, and we join them today in celebrating this well-deserved honor.”
During the past decade, more than 15 UT Austin professors have been elected as new members to the academy. The university has nearly 50 current and retired members.
About the new members representing UT Austin:
Benny D. Freeman holds the William J. (Bill) Murray, Jr. Endowed Chair in Engineering in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering. He is being recognized for the development of polymeric membranes for gas separation, ion transport and gas and water purification. He is the director of the Cockrell School’s Center for Materials for Water and Energy Systems, a U.S. Department of Energy research center focused on membrane-based approaches and materials for purifying water. Freeman joined UT Austin in 2002 after 13 years as a chemical engineering faculty member at North Carolina State University.
Fariborz Maseeh is an alumnus and chairman and managing principal at Surlamer Investments and The Massiah Foundation. He is being recognized for leadership and advances in efficient design, development and manufacturing of microelectromechanical systems and empowering engineering talent through public service. He founded the company IntelliSense Corp., one of the fastest-growing microelectromechanical systems and empowering engineering companies in the world at the time, which significantly reduced manufacturing time. IntelliSense was acquired by Corning in 2000. In addition to serving on several university boards, he has been recognized with the City of Portland Simon Benson Medal; the University of California, Irvine, Medal; the Portland State University Presidential Medal; and the Distinguished Engineering Graduate Award from the Cockrell School at UT Austin.