The discipline of chemical engineering grew out of applied and industrial chemistry at the start of the 20th century. At the University of Iowa, our 120+ year history began in 1903. Explore the timeline below to learn more.


1903: A series “Courses in Applied Chemistry” appeared for the first time in the University of Iowa catalog. The applied chemistry series was initiated under the leadership of Dean Amos Noyes Currier (1888-1907) in the College of Liberal Arts. Instruction was by William Karslake (PhD, Johns Hopkins University, 1895). From this inception in 1903 until 1927, chemical engineering at the University of Iowa was part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

1905: The term "Chemical Engineering" was first used in the University of Iowa catalog.


1919: The faculty gained its first member with specific training in chemical engineering, Dr. Hubert L Olin. 


1926: A cooperative program in chemical engineering was established. The chair of chemistry at the time, Edward Bartow, and the dean of the College of Applied Science, William Raymon, formed the cooperative initiative.

1924: The student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE) was formed. It was the sixth student chapter in the United States.

1926: The Department of Chemical Engineering was first accredited.

1927: The College of Applied Science became the College of Engineering.


Sketch of Karl Kammermeyer

1949: Karl Kammermeyer was appointed head of chemical engineering and was a major force in the department until his retirement in 1973. We honor Professor Kammermeyer through the Kammermeyer distinguished lecture and the Kammermeyer graduate research award. 

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1950: The Department of Chemical Engineering included five faculty members.


Photo portrait of Lilia Abron

1972: Lilia Abron became the first African American woman in the nation, and the third woman at the University of Iowa, to earn a PhD in chemical engineering.

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2000: The Department of Chemical Engineering grew to include 10 faculty members.


2023: The department continues to grow and currently has 15 faculty members.

Faculty History

The department has grown continually throughout its history, increasing from five faculty members in 1950 to its current 15 faculty members. The table below lists former and current faculty.

Faculty member Years
H. L. Olin (Head 1919-1944) 1919-1950—Emeritus
J. L. Beal 1934-1936
L. W. Cornell 1936-1937
J. Howard Arnold 1937-1944
W. L. Faith (Head of Div.) 1944-1945
C. S. Grove (Head of Div.) 1945-1948
J. O. Osburn (Acting Head 1948-1949) 1946-1985—Emeritus
K. Kammermeyer (Div. & Dept. Head) 1949-1973—Emeritus
C. J. Major 1950-1965
Robert W. Roberts 1961-1962
Arthur F. Vetter 1962-1987—Emeritus
Sun-Tak Hwang (Program Chair 1978-1982) 1966-1982
J. K. Beddow 1968-1997—Emeritus
Richard Tock 1970-1974
Kirk C. Valanis (Materials Div. Chairman) 1974-1978
Gregory Carmichael (Chair 1982-1995, Interim Chairman 1998-1999) 1978-
Ravindra Datta 1981-1998
Susan M. Selke 1983-1984
David W. Luerkens 1984-1993
David G. Rethwisch 1985-
Randall A. Yoshisato 1985-1989
Jonathan S. Dordick (Chair 1995-1998) 1987-1998
Victor G. J. Rodgers 1989-2005
David W. Murhammer (Chair 2007-2012) 1989-
Audrey A. Butler, Lecturer 1989-2017
John M. Wiencek (Chair 2002-2007) 1995-2007
Tonya L. Peeples 1995-2018
Gary Aurand, Adjunct 1995-2018
Robert Linhardt 1996-2003
Alec B. Scranton (Chair 2000-2002) 2000-
Julie L. P. Jessop 2000-2018
C. Allan Guymon (Chair 2012-2022) 2002-
Charles O. Stanier 2004-
Venkiteswaran (Mani) Subramanian 2005-2018
Jennifer Fiegel 2006-
Eric Nuxoll 2008-
Chris Coretsopoulos 2012-
Syed Mubeen 2014-
Jun Wang (Interim Chair 2022-present) 2016-
Jing Zeng, Lecturer 2016-
Beth Rundlett 2018-
Joe Gomes 2019-
Matt McGill 2022-
EPSCOR Associate 2024-