Robert S. Schechter

Dr. Schechter and former student Mike Fernandez give the hook 'em horns sign

Former students, colleagues and friends of Robert S. Schechter have come together to create the Dr. Robert Schechter Endowed Excellence Fund in Chemical Engineering. The endowment, seeded by a $100,000 gift from former student Mike Fernandez, will support graduate fellowships and undergraduate research stipends in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering.

“In appreciation for Dr. Schechter’s support during my undergraduate and graduate years at UT Austin, I am pleased to fund this endowment in honor of him,” said Mike Fernandez, B.S. ChE ’76, M.S. ChE ’78. “This endowment is to promote his teaching and research legacy and to inspire future chemical engineering students to achieve success in their studies and their chosen careers after graduation.”

First and foremost, Dr. Schechter was a teacher. He loved his students and the profession of teaching. He taught more than a hundred graduate and undergraduate classes, and guided 50 students to M.S. degrees and 40 to Ph.D. degrees. His skill and ability earned him many awards for teaching excellence, including the General Dynamics Award for Teaching Excellence in the College of Engineering in 1987 and the AIME Mineral Industry Education Award in 1998.

“Bob had a tremendous impact on the field of applied thermodynamics, our university, and the many students he reached during his 41 years of teaching chemical and petroleum engineering at UT Austin,” said Tom Truskett, chair of the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering.”

A prolific scholar, Schechter published 202 refereed articles, 27 book chapters and five books, while editing two others. He and his long-time friend, Dr. Bill Wade, developed the spinning drop tensiometer, a device for measuring ultra-low interfacial tensions between fluid phases. He freely shared his research and ideas with colleagues and continued to assist them in developing proposals for research and grants until shortly before his death October 8, 2014. His creativity and scientific contributions earned him numerous accolades, including election into the National Academy of Engineering, the Chevalier of the Order of the Palmes Academiques from the Prime Minister of France, and the first Billy and Claude R. Hocott Distinguished Engineering Research Award.

By giving to this fund, not only are you honoring a man who dedicated 41 years to educating world-class engineers at UT Austin, you are also enabling the next generation of Longhorn engineers to go out and change the world. Give online today or download a pledge form to fax in. Find out more by emailing Assistant Director of Development Michael Barasch or calling 412-720-4918.

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