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Benny Freeman Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

NC State chemical engineering graduate and former faculty member Professor Benny D. Freeman (B.S. ‘83) has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

Benny holds the William J. (Bill) Murray, Jr. Endowed Chair in Engineering in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering. He is being recognized for his development of polymeric membranes for gas separation, ion transport and gas and water purification, and he is the director of the Cockrell School’s Center for Materials for Water and Energy Systems (M-WET), a U.S. Department of Energy research center focused on membrane-based approaches and materials for purifying water. It is also a partnership with UC Santa Barbara and Berkeley Lab.

Benny’s numerous awards and honors include the PMSE Distinguished Service Award (Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering Division of ACS), the AIChE Clarence (Larry) G. Gerhold Award, the Joe J. King Professional Engineering Achievement Award and the Society of Plastics Engineers’ Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the AIChE, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the PMSE Division of the ACS, the North American Membrane Society (NAMS) and the IECR Division of the ACS. Only small percentages of engineers and scientists are selected as Fellows of even one technical society.

Election to the Academy is among the highest professional distinctions bestowed upon an engineer. Membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research and practice, including pioneering new and developing fields of technology and making major advancements in the engineering field and profession.

“Throughout his career, Benny has been a pioneer in the understanding, design and engineering of membrane materials for both water purification and gas separation,” said Roger Bonnecaze, dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering. “We are extremely proud to call him a Texas Engineer, and we join him today in celebrating this well-deserved honor.”

Benny joined UT Austin in 2002 after 13 years as a faculty member in the (then) Department of Chemical Engineering at NC State. A native of Hendersonville, NC, he completed his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley (1988).

Benny is the second CBE/CHE graduate to be elected to the Academy. Don Paul (B.S. ’61), the Emeritus Ernest Cockrell, Sr. Chair in Engineering in the McKetta Department was elected in 1988.

Congratulations to Professor Benny D. Freeman for this well-deserved honor!

This article is based on an article posted on the website of the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.