The inaugural class of Academy honorees includes 71 Texas ChE alumni, all of whom have been recognized as Distinguished Engineering Graduates by the Cockrell School of Engineering. Honorees are organized by decade of their earliest graduation year, then alphabetically by last name. (*deceased)
1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s
Dr. William A. Cunningham* (B.S. ’27, M.S. ’29, Ph.D. ’41)
William A. Cunningham was a Professor Emeritus of Texas ChE. Dr. Cunningham began his professional career in 1929 with the Texas Pacific Coal and Oil Company in Fort Worth. He joined Texas ChE faculty in 1935 as a professor. Dr. Cunningham was appointed as chair of the department for three terms and, in 1962, became associate director of the Bureau of Engineering Research at the University. In 1971, he was named Professor Emeritus. He was a vice president of Chemoil Consultants and a director of Round Rock White Lime Company. Dr. Cunningham wrote “Chemical Engineering at The University of Texas, 1910-1990”, a book documenting the history and accomplishments of Texas ChE and its faculty, co-authored with Dr. Howard Rase. He was the recipient of a number of honors, including a UT Austin Distinguished Alumnus award, the Distinguished Advisor Award of the UT Student Engineering Council in 1970 and ’71, and the award for Outstanding Service in Graduate Education at UT in 1971.
Dr. Joe L. Franklin, Jr.* (B.S. ’29)
After graduating, Joe L. Franklin joined Rice University in 1963, where he was the Robert A. Welch Professor of Chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry, as well as an adjunct professor for the Baylor College of Medicine. His first career was as a research chemist and research associate with Humble Oil & Refining CO. at Baytown, from 1934 to 1963. As a specialist in physical chemistry, he published 116 papers and co-authored two books. Dr. Franklin was a guest scientist to the National Bureau of Standards and served on committees of the National Research Council and National Academy of Sciences. He held offices in ten major professional societies and has received numerous honors and awards for his outstanding contributions to the professions of science and engineering.
Robert Rea Jackson* (B.S. ’23)
Before his retirement, Robert Rea Jackson was vice president in charge of planning and supply, Mobil Oil Company. During his earlier career, he was in charge of transportation; pipe line, refining, planning, and supply operations, at both domestic and foreign locations. During the Korean Conflict, Jackson was director of domestic refining, Petroleum Administration for Defense in Washington, D.C
Herbert Herman Meier* (B.S. ’24, M.S. ’27)
Herbert Herman Meier retired in 1968 as manager of the Baytown Refinery of Humble Oil & Refining Company. Meier specialized in technical research and new projects and held a numbers of patents related to the manufacturers of petroleum and chemical products.
During World War II, he developed a number of processes that greatly increased the availability of premium aviation gasoline and nitration-grade toluene. He also made contributions in the fields of lubricating oils and synthetic rubber.
Dr. Judson S. Swearingen* (B.S. ’29, M.S. ’30, Ph.D. ’33)
Judson S. Swearingen was the founder, owner, and chief executive officer of Rotoflow Corporation, Los Angeles. He was also president of Rotoflow A. G. (Switzerland). In 1939-1942, Swearingen was a professor of chemistry and chemical engineering at UT Austin. Swearingen wrote numerous publications and held more than 75 patents. He was a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, a member of several national professional and honorary societies including the National Academy of Engineering and the Mexican National Academy of Engineering, and received the Hanlon Award from GPA Midstream.