Iowa State University chemical engineering alumni Dr. Joe Cunning and Dr. Judson M. Harper were inducted into the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering Hall of Fame March 27. Both traveled to Iowa State for ceremonies in Sweeney Hall and with the department’s annual student awards banquet at the Scheman Center. Both received commemorative plaques and also have plaques in their honor that have been placed on the department’s Hall of Fame wall in Sweeney Hall.
Cunning received three chemical engineering degrees at Iowa State – a B.S. in 1958, an M.S. in 1962 and a Ph.D. in 1965. He has risen to worldwide prominence in the field of exploratory, long-range fiber research. He spent 28 years with the DuPont Company working in research and development of different fiber types and headed the corporation’s Pioneering Research Laboratory. Since 1991 he has been president of Cunning & Associates, Ltd., which provides consulting services for the textiles research and development community. He was awarded the College of Engineering Professional Achievement Citation in Engineering (PACE) award from Iowa State in 1988 and currently serves on the Iowa State University Foundation’s Board of Governors. He is also an adviser to the National Textile Center, a clustered research consortium of eight universities.
Harper received a B.S. in chemical engineering in 1958, an M.S. in food technology in 1960 and a Ph.D. in food technology and bacteriology (with minors in chemical engineering and mechanical engineering) in 1963, all from Iowa State.
He worked for General Mills in the 1960s before joining Colorado State University in 1970 as a professor and department head in the Department of Agricultural & Chemical Engineering. During his tenure he initiated the school’s Chemical and Biological Engineering department. He was Vice President for Research and Information Technology, greatly expanding research initiatives and facilities. He also served as Special Assistant to the President – Special Projects Office from 2000-2004 and was Interim President of the university in 1998 and 1999. In 2002 he was designated Emeritus Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering. He retired from Colorado State in 2004. Today the campus features the Judson M. Harper Research Complex, named in his honor.