UD’s Ogunnaike named outstanding chemical engineer

10:01 a.m., July 21, 2014–The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) has selected University of Delaware Dean of Engineering Babatunde A. Ogunnaike to receive the 2014 MAC Eminent Chemical Engineers Award.

The award, given annually by the AIChE Minority Affairs Committee, recognizes outstanding chemical engineers for their role in fostering a diverse pool of talent in engineering and related disciplines. Ogunnaike shares the 2014 honor with Robert (Bobby) L. Satcher from NASA and Rosemarie D. Wesson of the National Science Foundation.

“It is humbling for me to be in such company,” says Ogunnaike.

He will receive the award on Nov. 17 during the AIChE National Meeting in Atlanta, where he will participate in a panel session on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and its impact on U.S. competitiveness.

A member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the Nigerian Academy of Engineering and an AIChE fellow, Ogunnaike earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Lagos in Nigeria. He went on to pursue a master’s degree in statistics and a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The son of an educator, Ogunnaike understands the power of sharing his knowledge with others.

“Good teachers teach well, great teachers inspire,” Ogunnaike says. “I want to inspire students to be catalysts for change.”

From his early days as an assistant professor at University of Lagos in Nigeria to his role as dean of the College of Engineering at UD, Ogunnaike has helped struggling students as a mentor, as an advocate for advanced degrees and as the author of textbooks used to educate engineers at more than 29 universities.

Prior to joining the UD faculty full-time in 2002, Ogunnaike enjoyed a successful 13-year research career with DuPont while also serving as an adjunct professor at UD.

Today he remains a catalyst for change, supporting entrepreneurship as a natural extension of engineering education and encouraging students to develop a global mindset.

“Inspiration comes in many forms, and diversity — of thought, discipline, gender, culture — are all important to addressing 21st century challenges,” says Ogunnaike.

Article by Karen B. Roberts

BiomedicalEminent engineer