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2007 Honorary Degree

Vern Weekman
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Vern Weekman has distinguished himself in the energy industry as he developed key technologies, guided a new commercial venture, managed research for a major corporation at every level and took national leadership in his profession.

Although most of his career was spent in Mobil Oil Corp., he most recently has served as a faculty industrial fellow and visiting lecturer at Princeton University, while living in Washington Crossing, Pa.

Dr. Weekman was born and raised in Jamestown, N.Y., before coming to Purdue to study chemical engineering, earning his bachelor's degree in 1953. He earned a master's in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan the following year.

He started his career with Mobil in 1954, served a stint in the United States Air Force from 1955 to 1957, and returned to Mobil for 40 years, earning his doctorate from Purdue along the way in 1963. 

Dr. Weekman's work in the early years is credited with establishing Mobil Oil's international leadership position in catalytic reforming of petroleum. Models he published during that period are still cited today as examples of how to treat complex systems. While at Mobil, he published 33 papers and received 11 patents.

He spent five years as the first president of Mobil Solar Energy Corp., leading the venture to bring brand-new technology to the marketplace, requiring not only a dramatic change in technology and science, but also a new intimacy with entrepreneurship.

Dr. Weekman's success was balanced with effective national leadership in chemical engineering, serving as president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in 1998. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1985, one of several honors he earned.

He also served on academic advisory boards of numerous chemical engineering departments around the country. In addition to being a Princeton faculty industrial fellow, he demonstrated a strong commitment to his alma mater as a founding member of the New Directions Industrial Advisory Council of Purdue's School of Chemical Engineering from 1990 to 1997.

He received a Purdue Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award in 1980.

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