Tom Edgar Receives Distinguished National Service Award

Headshot of Dr. Tom EdgarProfessor Tom Edgar accepted the F. J. and Dorothy Van Antwerpen Award for Service from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) last week at the association’s annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The award, sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company, recognizes Edgar’s tremendous 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 has held influential positions for AIChE for nearly 40 years, including president in 1997. An initial AIChE Foundation Board of Trustees (BOT) member, he has served continuously on the board since 1990. He acted as Vice-Chair in 2000 before chairing the BOT from 2002-2008.

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

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

At The University of Texas at Austin he served as 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 work was recognized by AIChE in 1980 by 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 UT Chemical Engineering Department Chair Dr. Roger Bonnecaze. “Achievements like Tom’s contribute to The University of Texas at Austin continually being acknowledged as one of the top five chemical engineering departments nationwide. Most importantly, Tom continues to be an excellent teacher and adviser to hundreds of students.”

*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.

Watch Dr. Edgar’s acceptance speech

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