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)
Earl N. Brasfield* (B.S. ’57)
Earl N. Brasfield was a corporate vice president of Monsanto Company and group vice president of Monsanto Chemical Company with responsibility for Fibers and Intermediates plus the Engineered Products Division.
Brasfield joined Monsanto as a technical manufacturing assistant at the Texas City, Texas plant. He held several operating and manufacturing management positions at Texas City, and later St. Louis and Alvin, Texas. He was named director of manufacturing of the former Monsanto Polymers and Petrochemical Company in 1972 with responsibility for Monsanto Oil and Gas Division, and was appointed general manager, manufacturing, of the former Monsanto Chemical Intermediates Company in 1976. In 1982 he was named general manager, manufacturing, Monsanto Fibers and Intermediates Company, a former Monsanto operating unit. In early 1984 he was appointed General Manager for the Plastics Division and in late 1984 he was appointed corporate vice president and managing director of Monsanto Fibers and Intermediates Company. He assumed his present position and responsibilities in Fibers and Engineered Products in January 1986.
Brasfield was a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, The National Petroleum Refiners Association, the society of Chemical Industry-American Section, American Textile Manufacturing Institute, Inc. He was a chairman and 1991 Treasurer of American Fiber Manufacturers Association, Vice-Chairman, UT Engineering Foundation Advisory Council, member of the board of directors of Fisher Controls International, Inc., and president of the Parkway School Foundation.
Curt G. Engelhorn* (B.S. ’51)
German-born Curt G. Engelhorn was a pharmaceutical industry veteran and philanthropist. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from UT Austin in 1951, Engelhorn went on to build a pharmaceutical empire.
For more than 35 years, Engelhorn led pharmaceutical companies Boehringer Mannheim and DePuy Inc. In 1997, he sold Boehringer Mannheim and DePuy to Swiss health care company Hoffmann-La Roche. Engelhorn was the great-grandson of the founder of German chemical company BASF.
Engelhorn was an ardent supporter of the arts and education. He funds the Heidelberg Center for American Studies at the University of Heidelberg, in Germany. He was also a benefactor of the Reiss-Engelhorn Museum in Mannheim, Germany.
Dr. James R. Fair* (Ph.D. ’55)
James R. Fair was director of the engineering-technology area of Monsanto Company’s corporate engineering department in St. Louis. Dr. Fair was also an affiliate professor at Washington University, St. Louis, and director and vice-president of fractionation research, Inc. He began his career in 1942 as a junior engineer with Monsanto, becoming engineering director in 1969. He made many contributions to the proprietary company and patent literature, and published more than 50 articles in technical journals and books. He was a Fellow and former director of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and was a member of the former chemical engineering visiting committee. His honors include the Personal Achievement Award of AIChE and election to the National Academy of Engineering. He is listed in Who’s Who in Chemistry, Who’s Who in Engineering, Who’s Who in the Midwest, American Men and Women of Science and Contemporary Authors.
John L. Gidley* (B.S. ’50)
After earning three chemical engineering degrees from UT Austin, Dr. Gidley joined Humble Oil and Refining Company’s Production Research Division in 1954. His 31-year career with Exxon was highlighted by many professional publications and the awarding of eight patents.
From 1968 to 1981, Dr. Gidley supervised Exxon’s Subsurface Engineering Group, which was responsible for applying new techniques for well stimulation, cementing and sand control. In 1969 he invented, patented and fostered the application of a sandstone acidizing process which, within the first three years of its use, increased daily oil production at Exxon by more than 25,000 barrels. The Acid Mutual Solvent Method was widely applied throughout the oil industry, and royalties earned on the patent by Exxon’s research affiliate more than covered Dr. Gidley’s salary and benefits during his last 17 years of employment.
Dr. Gidley managed Exxon’s engineering training program from 1971 to 1981. From 1982 to 1985, he oversaw collection of detailed engineering data on more than 2,000 acidizing and 500 fracturing treatments. This formed the basis of Exxon’s detailed knowledge of well stimulation processes.
Dr. Gidley also contributed to oilfield technical literature. From 1969 to 1986, he chaired the American Petroleum Institute Subcommittee on Well Completion Materials, which produced several recommended practices on the evaluation of materials used in well simulation and sand control. In 1979, he co-authored the Society of Petroleum Engineers monograph Acidizing Fundamentals, which became the industry reference. He was editor-in-chief of the Society of Petroleum Engineers monograph Recent Advances in Hydraulic Fracturing, published in 1989, which became the authoritative work on that subject.
Upon retiring from Exxon in 1986, he organized a petroleum engineering consulting firm specializing in well stimulation and has been awarded six more patents. He was named a distinguished member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers in 1990 and received the Society’s Distinguished Service Award in 1990 and its John Franklin Carll Award in 1992. In 1994, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. He was a member of the UT System’s Chancellor’s Council and the University’s Littlefield Society and was a life member of Friends of Alec.
M. E. Gillis* (B.S. ’51)
In August, 1986 M. E. “Gene” Gillis became president of Exxon Chemical Americas with regional responsibility for the U.S and Latin America, and a senior vice president of Exxon Chemical Company, the worldwide chemical division of Exxon Corp.
Gillis joined the Exxon organization in 1951 as an engineer at the Baytown Chemical Plant after graduating that year from The University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Following a series of engineering and supervisory assignments, including serving in New York as investment coordination manager for Exxon Chemical’s U.S. operating division, he was named manager of the Baytown Chemical Plant.
In 1969 he was appointed manager of plans coordination and analysis for Exxon Chemical Co., the worldwide company, and served as secretary of the management committee. In 1970 he became vice president for chemical raw materials for Essochem Europe, Inc. in Brussels. Mr. Gillis returned to the U.S. in 1974 as executive vice president of Exxon Chemical Americas in Houston, a position he held until moving to Darien, Connecticut to become senior vice president of Exxon Chemical Co. in 1981.
He was a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and serves on the Advisory Board of AIChE’s Chemical Center for process Safety. In addition, he served on the Executive Committee of American Industrial Health Council, the Board of Trustees for The Keystone Center, and was a life member of Friends of Alec.
Joe D. Ligon* (B.S. ’51)
Dr. Carl E. Locke (B.S. ’58, M.S. ’59, Ph.D. ’72)
Shortly after graduating with his bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in chemical engineering, Dr. Carl Locke worked at Continental Oil (CONOCO) on development and commercialization of a new corrosion control system, anodic protection. He returned to UT for his doctoral degree and then joined the faculty of the School of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Oklahoma. Locke served as the director of the department for six years.
Locke’s career in academia continued at the University of Kansas’ School of Engineering as Dean. His 16 years as dean marked the second-longest tenure for that position in school history. After stepping down as Dean in 2002, Locke remained on the faculty of the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department until his retirement in 2005.
At that time, Locke began his own consulting firm, Carl E. Locke consulting. Through the firm, Locke consulted with engineering programs to help them prepare for ABET – EAC Comprehensive Reviews.
At the national level, Locke was an ABET – EAC accreditation visitor in chemical engineering from 1985 to 2005 and was an accreditation visitor for the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools from 1992 to 2000. He has held several offices in the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) since 1963. In 1998, he served as the National Society of Professional Engineers’ chair for Professional Engineers in Education. He was Chair of the American Society for Engineering Education’s Engineering Dean’s Council 2001-2002.
Locke was honored as a Cockrell School of Engineering Distinguished Engineering Graduate in 1993. He received a Distinguished Engineering Service Award from the School of Engineering at the University of Kansas in 2002.
Pal D. Meek* (B.S. ’53)
Paul D. Meek was elected president of Cosden Oil and Chemical Company of Big Spring, Texas in 1968. Joining Cosden in 1955, his career spanned the company’s major developments n the petrochemicals field. Meek was named vice president and director of parent company, American Petrofina, Inc., in 1968. In 1976, he was elected president and chief operating officer of American Petrofina, inc., in Dallas Texas.
Dr. Thomas K. Perkins (Ph.D. ’57)
Bob G. Perry (B.S. ’56)
C. A. Rundell Jr. (B.S. ’54)
Clarence Ainsworth Rundell Jr. was the president, chief executive officer and director of Cronus Industries, Inc. He held that position for eight years. Prior to the Cronus presidency, Rundell was the executive vice president and director of the Tyler Corporation. He also served as executive vice president and director of United States Brass Corporation and management associate of Electro-Science Investors, Inc. He was in manufacturing management at Texas Instruments, Inc.
Rundell was a senior active member of the Engineering Foundation Advisory Council, a member of the board and treasurer of The Isthmus Institute, and a member of UTAS 20/10 Club at The University of Texas at Austin.
He was a director of several corporations including Tyler Corporation, Communications Industries, Inc., and Capital Wire and Cable Corporation. In addition, he served as a director of Energy Incorporated and Electronic Monitors.
Glenn E. Taylor (B.S. ’58)
Glenn E. Taylor’s career began after graduation at Diamond Shamrock, now Industrial Chemicals, headquartered in Richmond, Va. During 20 years with the corporation, he served in process engineering and development, as an operations supervisor, a technical manager, a plant manager, and eventually a division operations manager.
In the late 1970s, Taylor applied his diverse expertise to lead a privately owned instrumentation company, where he served as president for four years. He then joined Engelhard Corp. in New Jersey as director of manufacturing in the Pigments Division, eventually assuming overall responsibility for that business unit. Taylor became the corporation’s vice president of joint ventures and manufacturing services. He was responsible for purchasing, environmental, health, and safety aspects of manufacturing, and for joint ventures the company pursued in Japan and Korea. His leadership skills were also tapped when he oversaw a team that developed a corporate-wide strategy for the company’s business in Asia and the Pacific.
Taylor retired from Engelhard in 1996, but soon after assumed the position of executive director of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). As director for five years, Taylor implemented a new strategic plan that involved the first major governance change in 30 years. He was also a member of the Cockrell School of Engineering External Advisory Board.
Taylor now helps operate a school for underprivileged children in Honduras, and volunteers with the AIChE and his church. He also maintains an active interest in Texas ChE and in Longhorn sports. Taylor currently lives in Basking Rdige, NJ and spends the winters in Austin.
Donald L. Wiley* (B.S. ’51)
A poor farm boy from Kansas, Donald L. Wiley took advantage of the GI Bill after serving in World War II to attend the University of Texas beginning in 1946. He spent his professional career at Union Carbide. Because of his knowledge and skill, over the years, he earned his way to Vice President of Operations for the Polyolefins Division.
He began his career as an engineer in Union Carbide’s chemicals and plastics plant in Texas City, Texas. After a stint in the New York corporate office in the early 1960s, he became manager of the Seadrift, Texas plant. Four years later, he was appointed as manager of the Taft plant in Louisiana. He returned to the New York corporate offices in 1973 as senior vice president for chemicals and plastics with responsibility for employee relations, engineering, manufacturing, safety, and research and development. He was promoted to his final position in 1979, retiring in 1984 to return to Texas and enjoy his grandchildren.
He gave back to UT Austin by serving on the Cockrell School’s Engineering Foundation Advisory Board as a Senior Active member. He was a member of the Friends of Alec, Texas Exes, and the Texas ChE External Advisory Committee.
Wiley served in the United States Marine Air Corps from 1941 to 1946 and was released with the rank of Captain.
He married Rae Cage of San Antonio, in 1945, their marriage lasting 59 years until his death in 2004. Their children Pat, Bill, Pam, and Kelly have given them eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren.