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    Ralph Peck - Department Chairman and Beloved Teacher

    Ralph Peck was a dynamic teacher and researcher whose genuine concern for students made him a legendary figure at Illinois Institute of Technology and in the field of chemical engineering. After receiving his bachelor and P.hD. degrees from the University of Minnesota, he introduced his own method of teaching, “the ten minute quiz,” for which he became famous—or infamous.

    Ted F. Meinhold (B.S. ChE '43) of Wauconda, Ill. writes, "My favorite professors were Harry McCormak and Ralph Peck both in the chemical engineering department. Tough task masters, but splendid tutors!"


    Ralph Peck is remembered annually through the Ralph Peck Lecture Series (Source: IIT Archives)

    In 1939, he came to Armour Institute of Technology, now IIT, as an instructor in chemical engineering and quickly rose through the faculty ranks. In 1953, he became chairman of the department of chemical engineering at IIT, and held that post until 1967.

    He traveled extensively, introducing his teaching methods and philosophy in India, Israel, Brazil, Algeria, Korea and Japan. He also supervised 100 masters and 33 PhD degree candidates. Four patents were issued in his name.

    He received the Excellence in Teaching Award from IIT in 1973, and the Western Electric Fund Award for Teaching Excellence for 1975-76 from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). He was a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and a member of the American Chemical Society and the ASEE. He died in Chicago in 1982.