Professor H. Scott Fogler

Remembering H. Scott Fogler, 1939-2021

He changed the chemical engineering profession as a researcher, scholar, author, and, most importantly, a skilled and accomplished educator.

Professor H. Scott Fogler, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Vennema Professor of Chemical Engineering, passed away on August 21, 2021. Scott joined U–M Chemical Engineering in 1965 as an assistant professor, spending over 50 years enriching the development of his students, his department, and the field of chemical engineering.

Professor H. Scott Fogler.
Professor H. Scott Fogler.

Scott was known to the chemical engineering world as a researcher, scholar, author, and, most importantly, a skilled and accomplished educator. He was passionate about teaching, and worked tirelessly to teach his students the tools and creative skills they would use throughout their careers to make a difference in the world. As an author of world-renowned textbooks in chemical reaction kinetics and in creative problem solving, an exceptional, industrially focused researcher in upstream petroleum engineering, and service leader both at UM and at the national level, Scott Fogler’s impact on Chemical Engineering changed the profession.

Scott earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois (1962), and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado (1963; 1965), which named him a distinguished alumnus in 1987. He joined the Chemical Engineering faculty at the University of Michigan in 1965 as an assistant professor. In addition to teaching and researching for more than five decades, Scott served the Department and College in many roles, including Associate Dean of the College of Engineering (1981 – 1984), Department Chair of Chemical Engineering (1985 -1990), the Ame and Catherine Vennema Professor of Chemical Engineering since 1984, and, since 2003, as an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor for his outstanding contributions to undergraduate education.

Notably, Scott served for more than 10 years as UM’s American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ (AIChE) Student Faculty Advisor. Under his mentorship, our chapter was honored with an Outstanding Student Chapter Award every year. Under his influence and guidance, the chapter developed a system whereby students can speak with company recruiters every week of the semester.

 Scott was very active in service to professional societies. His most notable service was to AIChE, where he served as President in 2009, and, among other achievements, created the long-running and much lauded Chem-E-Car Competition®. In 2017, colleagues, friends, and former students established an endowment through AIChE to honor his legacy and commitment to the education of students and the practice of chemical engineering.  This endowment supported the renamed “Scott Fogler AIChE Chem-E-Car Competition First Place Prize.”

Throughout his long career, Scott received many awards, honors, and accolades from national professional societies, as well as from the Department, College, UM and other universities. His most recent honors include an honorary degree, doctor honoris causa, recognizing his international impact, from Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain (2017); the AIChE F.J. & Dorothy Van Antwerpen Award for Service to the Institute (2019); the American Society for Engineering Education’s (ASEE) CACHE Award for Excellence in Computing in Chemical Engineering Education (2019); and the Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year from the Michigan Association of State Universities (2020). Always engaged, Scott continued to make valuable contributions throughout his long career.

Well known for his work on the application of fundamental chemical reaction engineering principles to the petroleum industry, Scott published 240+ research articles with his students – more than 49 master’s students and 45 doctoral students – in areas such as acidization of petroleum wells, upstream engineering gelation kinetics, wax deposition in subsea pipelines, and asphaltene flocculation and deposition kinetics.  Over the last 20 years, Scott focused his research on problems in upstream research with particular focus on asphaltene and paraffin deposition. This research enabled him to serve on President Barack Obama’s commission regarding the flow of diluted bitumen in the Keystone Pipeline.

Pivotal to his remarkable national and international impact, Scott authored or co-authored 12 textbooks, including Elements of Chemical Reaction Engineering, 4th Edition, and Essentials of Chemical Reaction Engineering. Assiduously, creatively, consistently, and meaningfully updated, these textbooks, currently used in an estimated 75% of the chemical engineering programs worldwide, have dominated the world market for the past 25 years, helping to prepare generations of chemical engineers. Scott also co-authored Strategies for Creative Problem Solving with Dr. Steve LeBlanc, winning the American Society for Engineering Education’s (ASEE) Meriam/Wiley Distinguished Author Award (1996), and, in addition, was honored with the AICHE Warren K. Lewis Award for Chemical Engineering Education (1995) for contributions of lasting educational influence.

Scott loved to cook, having earned a certificate from the New Orleans School of Cooking in 1985, and he loved to travel. He and his wife Jan traveled throughout the world, including during a Fulbright scholar stint in Norway in 1974 and a sabbatical in Sweden in 1982. In multiple trips to Thailand to teach reactions and creative problem solving, Scott was instrumental in starting a relationship with the Chulalongkorn University’s Petroleum and Petrochemical College, which provided scores of students opportunities to work with UM Chemical Engineering faculty, including over 30 students to work in his laboratory.

According to Laura Bracken, his assistant for nearly 40 years, Scott made it possible for 56 students from Chulalongkorn University, 49 students from the Indian Institute of Technology, and 20 students from the CHUST Committee at Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology to come to the Department to study. In addition, he was responsible for enabling 11 South African students from the University of the Witwatersrand who had been greatly affected by their country’s apartheid policies to study here. Open, curious, and eager to share his knowledge, he gave similar opportunities to students from Spain, Brazil, and China.

Closer to home, the Department hosted a 25/50/75 Celebration of Scott’s achievements in May 2015. His colleagues, current students, and 35 former students honored him with a symposium and dinner at the Michigan Union to celebrate 25 years of Scott’s book as the dominant textbook in chemical reaction engineering, his 50 years at the University of Michigan, and his 75th birthday. In October 2019, the Department celebrated his 80th birthday with a New Orleans-style breakfast reception during homecoming weekend and a reception at the 2019 AIChE National Meeting.

Scott Fogler’s 25/50/75 Celebration in 2015.

Scott is survived by his wife, Jan; his 3 children, Peter, Robert, and Kristin; his 4 grandchildren; and his sister, Karen Ann Ilyin. A memorial service is planned for September, should COVID restrictions allow.