The National Academy of Engineering has elected Benny Freeman, a professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, to the academy for 2023.


Election to the academy is among the highest professional distinctions bestowed upon an engineer. Membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research and practice, including pioneering new and developing fields of technology and making major advancements in the engineering field and profession. There are 124 new NAE members in 2023, joining the existing 2,600 members.

“Throughout his career, Benny has been a pioneer in the understanding, design and engineering of membrane materials for both water purification and gas separation,” said Roger Bonnecaze, dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering. “We are extremely proud to call him a Texas Engineer, and we join him today in celebrating this well-deserved honor.”

Benny Freeman NAE October 2023
Texas ChE Benny Freeman inducted into the National Academy of Engineering, October 1, 2023.

The McKetta Department of Engineering now has 12 professors, 5 with emeritus status, inducted into the academy. The University of Texas at Austin has nearly 50 current and retired members.

About Benny Freeman:

Benny D. Freeman holds the William J. (Bill) Murray, Jr. Endowed Chair in Engineering in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering. He is being recognized for the development of polymeric membranes for gas separation, ion transport and gas and water purification. He is the director of the Cockrell School’s Center for Materials for Water and Energy Systems (M-WET), a U.S. Department of Energy research center focused on membrane-based approaches and materials for purifying water. It is also a partnership with UC Santa Barbara and Berkeley Lab.

The mission of the Center for Materials for Water and Energy Systems is to discover and understand fundamental science to design new membrane materials, develop tools and knowledge to predict new materials’ interactions with targeted solutes from recalcitrant water sources, provide fit for purpose water, and recover valuable solutes with less energy.

Freeman joined UT Austin in 2002 after 13 years as a chemical engineering faculty member at North Carolina State University.

 Revised October 2, 2023 to include photo of induction ceremony.