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Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

John Anderson (PhD 71) nominated to be next National Academy of Engineering president

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE)’s 2019 nominating committee has recommended Illinois alumnus John L. Anderson to stand as the sole candidate for the NAE presidency. Academy members will vote in March 2019 to elect a new NAE president to a six-year term beginning July 1.

Since receiving his BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois (PhD 1971, Quinn), Anderson has served on the faculties of Cornell University, Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, and the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is President Emeritus and distinguished professor of chemical engineering at Illinois Tech.

“John Anderson is a superb nominee for president of the NAE,” said NAE Council chair Gordon England, former secretary of the U.S. Navy. “He is a highly recognized leader in the academic community and has years of experience in many NAE positions, including being a current member of the Council. John is personable, very engaging, and a natural leader – just what we need to continue moving the NAE forward to better serve the nation.”

If elected, Anderson will succeed C. D. (Dan) Mote, Jr., whose term will end June 30, 2019.

Anderson was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1992 “for contributions to the understanding of colloidal hydrodynamics and membrane transport phenomena.” In addition to his current service on the NAE Council, he has served on numerous NAE and Academies committees including as chair of the Committee on Determining Basic Research Needs to Interrupt the Improvised Explosive Device Delivery Chain and chair of the Committee on Review of Existing and Potential Standoff Explosives (Suicide Bomber) Detection Techniques.

The National Academy of Engineering is part of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. These independent, nonprofit institutions advise the government and the public on some of the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world. NAE members are the nation’s premier engineers, elected by their peers for their distinguished achievements. Established in 1964, the NAE operates under the congressional charter granted to the National Academy of Sciences in 1863. The NAE president is a full-time employee of the organization at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., and also serves as vice chair of the National Research Council, the principal operating arm of the National Academies.

Anderson served as the president of Illinois Tech from 2007 to 2015. He is currently a distinguished professor of chemical engineering at Illinois Tech’s Armour College of Engineering. His past academic leadership positions include chair of biomedical engineering, department head of chemical engineering, and dean of engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, as well as provost and executive vice president at Case Western Reserve University.

As a Guggenheim Fellow, Anderson was visiting professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1982 to 1983, and he has held visiting professorships at Landbouwuniversiteit Wageningen (Netherlands, 1994) and the University of Melbourne (Australia, 1995). He has served on advisory boards/visiting committees for Carnegie Mellon University, University of California, Santa Barbara, Cornell University, University College Dublin, University of Delaware, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Illinois, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Toronto, Vanderbilt University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and University of Virginia. Anderson has mentored 26 doctoral students.

In 2014 Anderson was appointed by President Obama to the National Science Board. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has been awarded the Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress in Chemical Engineering (1989) and the National Engineering Award by the American Association of Engineering Societies (2012).

Anderson is married to Patricia Siemen Anderson; they have two children and five grandchildren.