John "Jack" McWhirter


John "Jack" McWhirter

2019 Distinguished Alumni Award

Vice President, Union Carbide; Entrepreneur

BS 59

In 2011, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers recognized John "Jack" McWhirter as one of the 100 preeminent chemical engineers of the modern era for his invention, development, and commercialization of the UNOX wastewater treatment system while at Union Carbide. These systems account for about 35 percent of the total U.S. secondary wastewater treatment capacity. In 1986, he joined the Penn State faculty and taught there until 2000. Dr. McWhirter is also an entrepreneur, having founded Copper Beech, a student housing development company, with his wife Jeanette. They sold the company in 2014.