James Oldshue – Legendary Alumnus and Benefactor
James Oldshue’s contributions and accomplishments to the chemical engineering profession, IIT and the community throughout his life are numerous.
He attended IIT on a scholarship and earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1947. He went on to pursue his M.S. degree at IIT, completed in 1949, and his Ph.D. degree, completed in 1951. During his time at the university, Oldshue was an extremely active student. He was a member of the basketball and baseball teams, as well as a member of Phi Lambda Upsilon, Alpha Chi Sigma, Pi Delta Epsilon, Sigma Xi and Tau Beta Pi. He also served as the freshman advisor for the school’s AIChE chapter and as the President of Honor I. Additionally, he acted as the Sports Editor of TechNews.
He began his career as a chemical engineer at the Los Alamos Laboratories for the Manhattan Project while pursuing his Ph.D. at IIT. In 1950, he began working as a chemical engineer at the Mixing Equipment Co., in Rochester, NY and rose to the position of Head of Development and Engineering in 1952. Two years later, he was further promoted to the position of Director of Research. From 1954 to 1957, Oldshue served as a chemical engineering instructor at the University of Rochester and on the Board of Directors at Springfield College in Massachusetts. In 1963, Oldshue became the Technical Director for Mixing Equipment Co. and was promoted to Vice President in 1963. In 1992, he was an Adjunct Professor of chemical engineering at the Beijing Institute of Chemical Technology in China. In June 1993, Oldshue retired from the Mixing Equipment Co. after 43 years of service.
Throughout his career, Oldshue was a member of the National Academy of Engineers, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Institute of Chemists, the National Society of Professional Engineers, the Rochester Engineering Society and the American Association of Engineering Society. He was active in each organization, often serving in various board positions or lending his talents and dedication to numerous committees. Oldshue also spoke around the globe on the topic of mixing technology and was an internationally recognized chemical engineer with numerous patents, journal articles and textbook contributions to his name. One of his most well-known works is the book Fluid Mixing Technology (McGraw Hill, 1982).
Oldshue’s commitment to the community was perhaps as great as his passion for the chemical engineering profession. He served in various capacities for the YMCA, including on the national Board of Directors, the Budget and Capital Needs Committee, the International Division and the National Board of YMCAs. Oldshue was also a delegate to the YMCA’s International Activities in the Soviet Union, South America, the Middle East and China, as well as the Chairman of the YMCA’s International Committee.
He also remained an active alumnus of IIT and was awarded with the Professional Achievement Award in 1982. Additionally, he was the Area Chairman for the IIT National Alumni Campaign in Rochester, NY. In 2004, Oldshue returned to his alma mater to give a special presentation titled, “The Role of Macro Scale and Micro Scale Mixing in the Scale-up of Fluid Mixers.”
It is nearly impossible to estimate the vast extent of the impact Oldshue had throughout the world. He was a true pioneer in the industry and undoubtedly inspired an uncountable number of his peers, colleagues and students to make a difference in the profession and in the world. He sadly passed away at the age of 81 in January 2007 in Sarasota, Fla., after a brief illness.
The IIT Chemical and Biological Engineering Department is pleased to continue the legacy of Oldshue through the dedication of the Oldshue Laboratory, which will be completed in Spring 2008 and dedicated to his memory on April 25, 2008. Through this state-of-the-art lab, made possible through the generosity of Oldshue, Dr. John Sachs (ChE ’48) and other ChBE alumni, students and faculty will be provided the opportunity to conduct groundbreaking research in the shadows of a true pioneer of the industry.
Oldshue Lab Renovation Photos