In memoriam: Joseph Sullivan, professor emeritus of chemical engineering
October 1, 2019
Joseph T. Sullivan, professor emeritus of the chemical engineering department in Virginia Tech's College of Engineering from 1997-2004, passed away Sept. 20, 2019. He was 80.
Twenty-five years of Sullivan's professional life were spent with the Ciba-Geigy Corporation, headquartered in Tarrytown, New York, where he was corporate senior vice president, a member of the board of directors, and a member of the executive committee.
Sullivan became the first Joseph H. Collie Professor in the chemical engineering department after more than 30 years of technical and operations management experience in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.
“Joe was a wonderful colleague who brought a wealth of experience to his position as the Joseph H. Collie Professor of Chemical Engineering," said Rick Davis, professor of chemical engineering. “He was a kind man, always a pleasure to talk with, and a very good person to go to for advice."
Sullivan taught a variety of undergraduate courses and served as chairman of the undergraduate committee in the College of Engineering and the assistant head of the department of chemical engineering. He also served on the Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Board of Directors and then on the board of directors of Hexcel Corporation and Degusse Metals Catalysts Cerdec.
Sullivan was active in government relations and regulatory agencies, testifying before Congressional committees, participating in numerous forums dealing with environmental issues and philosophy, and serving on the EPA Administrator’s National Advisory Committee on Environmental Policy and Technology and as an industry consultant.
Sullivan was a champion in developing opportunities for engineering students to learn marketing and other business skills. He successfully incorporated proactive environmental thinking into engineering education, chemical process design and manufacturing operations.
He obtained a bachelor's from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.
Among his hobbies were travel, photography, bicycle riding, and following sports, particularly the Virginia Tech Hokies and Minnesota Twins.
A memorial service will be held on Oct. 5, 2019, at 11 a.m., at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church with reception following.
A complete obituary can be found here.
- Written by Tina Russell