AIChE Names Giving Society After John McKetta

Former AIChE President Phil Westmoreland, AIChE Executive Director June Wispelwey and John McKetta at the 2013 spring meeting in San Antonio, Texas.Professor Emeritus John McKetta, namesake of the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, and a Fellow and former president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), marked his 100th birthday on Oct. 17, 2015. To celebrate the milestone, and to express the Institute’s enduring gratitude for McKetta’s contributions to chemical engineering education and the life of the Institute, the AIChE Foundation Board of Trustees has renamed its philanthropic honor society.

The John J. McKetta, Jr. AIChE Lifetime Giving Society — formerly called the Cumulative Giving Society — recognizes the generosity of people who have given major donations to AIChE through the Foundation’s various giving programs. Funds raised by the Foundation support AIChE’s mission to promote excellence in chemical engineering education and global practice.

McKetta is recognized as a global authority on the thermodynamic properties of hydrocarbons and has served as an energy advisor to five U.S. Presidents. He has authored 85 books, including the 69-volume Encyclopedia for Chemical Processing and Design. He joined The University of Texas at Austin faculty in 1946 and, despite retiring in 1995, remains very active with the university and former students.

His relationship with AIChE dates back to 1937, when he first became a member. In 1962, he was the first Texan, or Southwesterner, to be named president of the AIChE and was the only president to have ever visited every local section during his year of tenure. Previous to his presidency, he had also served as vice president and chaired numerous AIChE committees spanning more than a decade.

McKetta received the AIChE’s Service to Society Award in 1975, and in 2009 the Institute selected him as one of the “50 Chemical Engineers of the Foundation Age.” In the early 2000s, he also established the John J. McKetta Undergraduate Scholarship with the AIChE and the John J. McKetta Project Connect Grants for Local Sections. Both initiatives help aspiring students pursue their education and a career in chemical engineering.

For these reasons and more, the AIChE is proud to name its giving society after one of the profession’s most beloved and influential leaders, John McKetta.  His track record of philanthropic leadership is the perfect fit to represent the impact lifetime giving makes in advancing the AIChE and the chemical engineering profession.

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