Happy Centennial, Chemical Engineering!

h-scott-foglerIn celebration of the 100th anniversary of chemical engineering this year, H. Scott Fogler, distinguished author, researcher, and professor at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, delivered the centennial lecture Oct. 19 at Colton Chapel. In his speech, Fogler drew comparisons between George Bailey’s memorable character in the classic film It’s a Wonderful Life and Edward
Hart of Easton, the first chair of chemical engineering at Lafayette College, industry leader, and a major force in the creation of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

“What if Hart had never been born?” Fogler asked. “For one thing, this 100th anniversary celebration most certainly would have been delayed.” He then listed pioneering and prestigious chemical engineering companies, institutions, and inventions that would not have existed without Hart’s vision, passion, and entrepreneurship.

Among them are: J.T. Baker, Allied Chemical, the Journal of Analytical Chemistry, the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the first chemical engineering textbook in the United States.

Fogler, who served as president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in 2009—a post made possible by Hart—also discussed how the patriarch of Lafayette’s chemical engineering program would have embodied Steven Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and the “7 Actions for a Successful Career.”

“Hart convinced his colleagues at Lafayette to develop a curriculum in chemistry. He saw a need for a chemical engineering curriculum and moved forward, proactively, to put it in place here on this campus,” Fogler said. “You have to be proud of all that started here because of Edward Hart.”