Gala honors DuPont for sustainability and Thermo Fisher Scientific for response to COVID-19;
unveils industry-wide Future of STEM Scholars Initiative
NEW YORK, NY — The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) honored DuPont and Thermo Fisher Scientific, along with those companies’ leaders, for exemplifying the good works of chemical engineering at its 2020 Virtual Gala, held December 10. For the first time, the annual fundraiser was presented online, as a measure against COVID-19. The online platform enabled the gala presentation to reach and include a broader audience.
DuPont was recognized “for leadership in the developing of innovative sustainable products,” and for the company’s 2030 Sustainability Goals, which align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The honor for DuPont was accepted by Edward D. Breen, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Thermo Fisher Scientific was honored for “leadership in addressing global health care challenges,” in particular for the company’s leadership in bringing government and industry groups together to accelerate access to COVID-19 testing and vaccine development. Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Marc N. Casper, accepted the award on behalf of the company.
In accepting the award, Breen said “the need for chemical engineers, and the value of the AIChE organization, is more evident than ever as we face the threats to our health and economy from COVID-19. At DuPont, we believe in the power of science and engineering to solve and scale solutions for the pandemic and many other challenges that face our world — and I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of all our employees.”
Casper thanked AIChE for recognizing Thermo Fisher Scientific, and lauded the scientific community for its extraordinary response in advancing solutions for the current health crisis. “We’ve made great strides thanks to the innovation and tenacity of scientists and chemical engineers,” said Casper, “and we at Thermo Fisher are proud to support this work. Our mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner, and safer. And our response to the pandemic is the most profound example of how we fulfill it each and every day.”
The gala also honored S. Shariq Yosufzai, retired Vice President of Global Diversity at Chevron Corporation, who received the AIChE Foundation’s Doing a World of Good Medal, a prize that recognizes the achievements of an individual who has advanced the societal contributions of engineers. Yosufzai was cited for his leadership in creating a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive workforce within Chevron and across the chemical engineering community.
Yosufzai expressed his appreciation to others who had influenced him as an advocate for greater diversity and inclusion in industry and across institutions. “I am deeply honored and also humbled to accept this award — not only on my behalf but on behalf of many people and many organizations that have inspired me in this journey,” Yosufzai said.
Another highlight was the announcement of the Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI) by Mark Vergnano, Chief Executive Officer at Chemours and founding chair of FOSSI. A collaboration of AIChE, the American Chemistry Council, Chemours Company, and HBCU Week Foundation, the initiative will provide scholarships, create internships, and facilitate mentorship and leadership training for students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). FOSSI’s first year goal is to underwrite 150 STEM scholars at an investment of $7.2 million.
In announcing FOSSI, AIChE Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer June Wispelwey stated “It is a privilege to partner with the Chemours Company, the American Chemistry Council and the HBCU Week Foundation in the launch of FOSSI. Together, we are working towards the goal to support countless underrepresented students in pursuing careers in STEM. We look forward to having additional industry partners join us.”
The 2020 AIChE Virtual Gala raised approximately $550,000 to underwrite programs to attract and retain students from underrepresented segments of the population to the STEM professions.
The annual gala supports transformative priorities of the AIChE Foundation and its Doing a World of Good campaign, which focus on advancing chemical engineering and bringing that expertise to bear for the good of society. To date, the campaign has raised more than $26 million toward those objectives.
The 2020 Virtual Gala’s dinner chairs were Erin Kane, President and Chief Executive Officer, AdvanSix Inc; Paul G. Parker, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development, Thermo Fisher Scientific; Daryl Roberts, Chief Operations and Engineering Officer, DuPont; John Televantos, Senior Partner, Arsenal Capital Partners; and Michael P. Thien, Senior Vice President, Merck & Company. Inc.
For more information about AIChE’s 2020 Virtual Gala, its honorees and supporters, visit www.aiche.org/gala.
About AIChE: AIChE is a professional society of more than 60,000 members in more than 110 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities and government using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society. Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontier of chemical engineering research in such areas as nanotechnology, sustainability, hydrogen fuels, biological and environmental engineering, and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at www.aiche.org.