The department welcomes alumni Michael Harris and James Porter Jr. as Hall of Fame inductees for 2017. The Hall of Fame award is given to accomplished individuals with significant relationships to our department who have greatly contributed to the profession of chemical and biomolecular engineering.
Harris was the first African American student to receive a PhD in chemical engineering at UT, which he earned in 1992. During his studies, he worked full-time as a development engineer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in areas of control technology, colloids, interfacial phenomena, and the application of finite element and boundary element numerical methods.
He now serves as the associate dean for engagement and undergraduate education at Purdue University, where he is the Robert B. and Virginia V. Covalt Professor of Chemical Engineering.
Harris is the author of 97 peer-reviewed publications and 11 patents. He was a Purdue University Faculty Scholar from 2002 to 2007, served as the programming chair and chair of the ASEE Minority Division from 2011 until 2014, and was named a fellow of AIChE in 2009. Harris won the AIChE Grimes Award for Excellence in Chemical Engineering in 2005 and the AIChE Minority Affairs Distinguished Service Award in 2009.
Porter is the founder and president of Sustainable Operations Solutions LLC. He received his bachelor’s degree from UT in 1965. He went to work for DuPont in 1966 and remained with the company—aside from a stint in the US Army— for more than 42 years. He held numerous technical and management positions, retiring in 2008 as the chief engineer and vice president of engineering and operations.
Porter served as the chair of the Tickle College of Engineering Board of Advisors for several years and was the 2015 recipient of the Nathan W. Dougherty Award. He is a fellow of AIChE and has served on the institute’s board.
He is a member of the National Academy of Construction and has served on the boards of FIATECH, the Mascaro Sustainability Initiative, Argonne National Laboratory, and the Fieldbus Foundation as well as on the advisory board for AIChE’s Center for Chemical Process Safety.
Porter earned leadership awards from the Construction Industry Institute and FIATECH for his volunteer work in improving the business effectiveness of capital project management and construction practices and systems earned.
Porter’s strong support of diversity in engineering was recognized by the Society of Women Engineer’s Rodney D. Chipp Memorial Award. He also served as chair of the United Negro College Fund of Delaware.