Darsh T. Wasan Lecture

The Darsh T. Wasan Lecture was established in 2008 in honor of Darsh T. Wasan, Distinguished Motorola Professor of Chemical Engineering and Vice President for International Affairs, who has made extraordinary contributions to the university over the last 55 years. The lecture seeks to bring some of the best and brightest internationally known leaders to speak on cutting-edge topics featuring global issues.

The lecture series is made possible by donations from his former students, friends, and faculty.


Darsh Wasan received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in chemical engineering in 1960 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkley in 1965. He began his career at Illinois Tech in 1964, shortly after his graduation from Berkley, and gained full professorship in 1970.

Over the last 55 years, he has held virtually every academic and administrative post at the university, including department chair, dean of engineering, vice president for research and technology, vice president for academic affairs, and provost.

Over the span of his career, Wasan co-authored over 400 publications, co-authored a textbook with Edwards and Brenner titled Interfacial Transport Processes and Rheology, supervised and mentored 60 doctoral students, 55 master of science students, and 15 postdoctoral fellows.

He also is the recipient of numerous awards for teaching, research, and service, including the American Chemical Society National Award in Colloid and Surface Chemistry; the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Alpha Chi Sigma Award for Fundamental and Applied Research in Chemical Engineering; the American Society for Engineering Education Chemical Engineering Division Lectureship Award; the Western Electric Fund Award for excellence in instruction of engineering students; and Illinois Tech's Excellence in Teaching Award.

In addition to these awards, Wasan was elected to the United States National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest honors bestowed upon engineers in the U.S., and to the Indian National Academy of Engineering.

Ralph Peck Memorial Lecture Series

Ralph Peck was a dynamic teacher and researcher whose genuine concern for students made him a legendary figure at Illinois Tech and in the field of chemical engineering. After receiving his bachelor and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota, he introduced his own method of teaching, “the 10-minute quiz,” for which he became famous—or infamous.

Ted F. Meinhold (CHE ’43) writes, "My favorite professors were Harry McCormak and Ralph Peck, both in the chemical engineering department. Tough task masters, but splendid tutors!"

In 1939 he came to Armour Institute of Technology, now Illinois Tech, as an instructor in chemical engineering and quickly rose through the faculty ranks. In 1953 he became chairman of the Department of Chemical Engineering, a post he held 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 Ph.D. degree candidates. Four patents were issued in his name.

He received the Excellence in Teaching Award from Illinois Tech 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. 

“Engineering the Energy Transition to Net Zero Carbon” 
John L. Anderson, president emeritus of Illinois Tech and president of the National Academy of Engineering

“Experience on Demand: Virtual and Augmented Reality” 
Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University

“Building and Operating the International Space Station” 
Ellen Ochoa, former director of NASA's Johnson Space Center

“The Story of Alexa: AI for Daily Convenience”
Rohit Prasad, vice president and head scientist, Amazon Alexa

“Global Climate Change and U.S. Interests: What we know. What we expect. What should we do?”
John P. Holdren, science advisor and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Barack Obama

“Technology, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Social Change”
Sam Pitroda, chairman of the Pitroda Group

“Redesign Economics to Redesign the World”
Muhammad Yunus, chairman of the Yunus Center, Bangladesh

"Biomaterials and Biotechnology: Controlled Drug Delivery Systems and Tissue Engineering"
Robert Langer, institute professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"Harnessing Knowledge to Meet the Challenge of Climate Change"
Rajendra Kumar Pachauri
Chair, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
director general of The Energy and Resources Institute

“Challenges and Opportunities for Global Science”
Subra Suresh
president, Carnegie Mellon University
former director, National Science Foundation

"International Education Today"
Alice P. Gast, president, Lehigh University

“A Tale for Our Times: Something for Everyone about Climate Change and the Reasons for Climate Gridlock”
Susan Solomon (CHEM ’77), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

“Membrane Technology for a Thirsty Century—from an Industrial Perspective of Energy, Sustainability, and Globalization”
Norman N. Li, president, NL Chemical Technology, Inc.

“Innovation in Global Healthcare, Education and the Arts”
David A. Edwards (Ph.D. CHE ’87), Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University

Darsh T. Wasan 
Illinois Institute of Technology

Jennifer Sinclair Curtis
Princeton University

Ann Lee

Marianthi Ierapetritou
Rutgers University

Babatunde A. Ogunnaike
University of Delaware

Kristi Anseth
University of Colorado Boulder

G.V. Reklaitis
Purdue University

Matthew Tirrell
University of Chicago

Richard Flagan
California Institute of Technology

Ronald G. Larson
University of Michigan

Jefferson W. Tester
Cornell University

John L. Anderson
Illinois Institute of Technology

Richard C. Alkire
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Robert F. Anderson

Bernard S. Baker
Energy Research Corporation

Richard G. Carlson
Dow Chemical Company

Reg Davies
DuPont Central Research and Development

Liang-Shih Fan
The Ohio State University

Klavs F. Jensen
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Henry T. Kohlbrand
The Dow Chemical Company

Robert Langer
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Henry R. Linden
Gas Research Institute, Illinois Institute of Technology

Regina M. Murphy
University of Wisconsin–Madison

James Y. Oldshue
Lightnin Corporation

Charles O’Melia
The Johns Hopkins University

W. Harmon Ray
University of Wisconsin–Madison

M.C. Roco
National Science Foundation

John P. Sachs
Great Lakes Carbon Corporation

Gregory Stephanopoulos
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Marvin Warshay
NASA Lewis Research Center

Thomas A. Weil
Amoco Chemical Company

Robert M. Wellek
National Science Foundation

Ahmed Zewail
California Institute of Technology