McKetta Recognized for AIChE Service
John J. McKetta Jr., professor emeritus and former dean of the Cockrell School, was honored for his dedication and service to the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) at a volunteer reception at AIChE’s annual meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 17.
“Anyone who has ever crossed paths with Dr. McKetta, or has been fortunate enough to work, learn from or befriend him, knows his contagious smile and his love for The University of Texas at Austin family, and his ceaseless support for AIChE,” said Maria Burka, AIChE’s 2011 president.
The ceremony coincided with McKetta’s 96th birthday and celebrated the approaching 50th anniversary of his term as AIChE president in 1962, his status as an AIChE Fellow, previous service as a foundation trustee and numerous contributions to AIChE and the chemical engineering profession. When in office, McKetta visited every university campus in the United States with an AIChE chapter to promote the organization and membership benefits. In following years AIChE had an all-time high membership of 58,000, which many credit to McKetta’s efforts.
McKetta is an international authority on the thermodynamic properties of hydrocarbons, served as energy advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Bush Sr., and has published over 400 papers and written or edited 87 books.
He was a founding member of the National Council for Environmental Balance, as well as President Reagan’s appointee to the Acid Rain Precipitation Task Force. Working alongside his students at UT Austin, McKetta predicted the first accurate method for determining the temperature profile of a flowing oil well or gas well.
McKetta remains active within the Department of Chemical Engineering at UT Austin and continues to host an annual picnic for students. Dr. Nicholas Peppas, chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at UT Austin, accepted the award in Minneapolis on McKetta’s behalf.
AIChE is the world’s leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, with more than 40,000 members from over 90 countries. AIChE has the breadth of resources and expertise allowing members to access information on recognized and promising chemical engineering processes and methods, a global network of intelligent, resourceful colleagues and their shared wisdom, and learning opportunities from recognized authorities.