Hall of Distinction Class of 1990-1991

Ronald W. Rousseau was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and spent the early part of his life in Baton Rouge. After graduating from Redemptorist High School, he entered LSU in 1961. While at LSU, he was awarded an athletic scholarship and lettered three years in varsity baseball. He received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in January 1966, and began graduate studies that same spring. While pursuing a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, he elected to do his research in the field of polymers and was awarded his doctorate in May of 1969. He subsequently spent two summers working for the Ethyl Corporation in Baton Rouge and two summers as an instructor in the Department of Chemical Engineering. It was this latter experience that was to shape his interest in teaching as a profession.

Upon obtaining his Ph.D., he accepted a position at North Carolina State University, where he rose through the academic ranks until 1980, when he was named Professor. He then remained at North Carolina State for 17 years, during which time he spent a year as Visiting Professor of Chemical Engineering at Princeton University, before accepting his present position as Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the School of Chemical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also a registered Professional Engineer.

As Director of the School of Chemical Engineering, Dr. Rousseau has administrative responsibilities for programs covering 25 faculty, 14 staff, a variable number of postdoctoral associates, 95 graduate students, and more than 500 undergraduates. Five members of the faculty have been hired since he became school director in January 1987. He has primary responsibility for managing the fiscal resources of the School and has worked to increase the level of external funding for both research and instructional activities. He is an active supporter of several interdisciplinary programs important to faculty within the School of Chemical Engineering.

In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Dr. Rousseau continues to participate in both teaching and research, with emphasis on separation and purification processes, mass transfer with chemical reaction, and phase equilibria. Especially noteworthy have been his investigations of crystal nucleation and growth and the role of these phenomena and crystallizer variables in determining crystal habit, purity, and size distributions. Presently, he is working on elucidation of those factors that influence product quality as obtained from either batch or continuous crystallizers. He is particularly interested in the application of crystallization technology to the recovery and purification of high-value-added chemicals, including biologically produced materials. His scholarship has earned him membership in Tau Beta Pi, Phi Lambda Upsilon, Phi Kappa Phi, and the Society of the Sigma Xi.

Dr. Rousseau co-wrote “Elementary Principles of Chemical Processes” with Richard M. Felder, which was published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. in 1978, with a second edition in 1986. This undergraduate text is used by more than 80% of the chemical engineering programs in the U.S. Additional book publications include his editorship of “The Handbook of Separation Process Technology” (Wiley,1987). His research and related activities have led to more than 110 journal articles and technical reports and similar numbers of seminars and presentations at universities, corporate centers, and national and international technical meetings. Dr. Rousseau was a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the “AIChE Journal” from 1982 to 1985, and presently serves as a consulting editor. He is also a member of the international advisory board of Separations Technology, a Butterworth publication. Dr. Rousseau has provided consulting services for over 40 industrial and government organizations and given numerous industrial short courses on chemical process technology, especially crystallization, distillation, and separation processes throughout the U.S., Europe, Canada, and the Middle East.

In addition to membership in the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dr. Rousseau is an elected Director of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and will hold that position during 1990-1992. He served as Meeting Program Chairman for the 1987 Annual AIChE Meeting in New York, chaired or co-chaired 12 technical sessions at Institute meetings, and holds membership in the Separations Division, the Forest Products Division, and the Food Pharmaceutical, and Bioengineering Division. In 1980, he was selected to receive the Forest Products Division Award and the Outstanding Chemical Engineer Award given by the Eastern North Carolina Section in 1986. He has served as Chair of the AIChE Publication Committee and chaired the ad hoc committee that developed “Biotechnology Process” as a joint AIChE/ACS publication.

In recognition of his abilities as an educator and engineer, the College of Engineering is proud to welcome Ronald W. Rousseau to the Engineering Hall of Distinction.