John G. McDonald, a 1957 B.S. graduate of Iowa State’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE) and member of the department’s inaugural Hall of Fame class, passed away July 14 at the age of 86.
Originally from Ohio, McDonald came to Iowa State University through a Navy ROTC scholarship. After receiving his chemical engineering degree, he served in the U.S. Navy, rising to the rank of lieutenant while serving aboard the USS Intrepid.
After his Navy service John was employed by the Standard Oil Company of Ohio in Cleveland (which later became BP America). During a career spanning more than 30 years, he advanced to senior executive management, becoming president of BP Oil Co (BP America). He retired in 1992.
McDonald was in the inaugural class of Iowa State CBE’s Hall of Fame and was inducted during the department’s centennial celebration in 2013.
After his retirement, he was actively involved in supporting the department by serving on the CBE Advisory Council and devoted considerable time and effort to civic and community organizations, volunteering with many United Way fundraising campaigns, leading the Cleveland City Schools Scholarship-in-Escrow program while serving on its board, and maintaining board membership with the Cleveland Boys and Girls Clubs (including a term as board president). As president of the board for both the Cleveland Opera and Summer Music Experience (at Western Reserve Academy), he was able to mix his lifelong enthusiasm for classical singing with his community leadership abilities. He was also an active member of the Acacia Fraternity.
A memorial service will be held August 21 in Hudson, OH. Read his full obituary.