Interested in chemical engineering from a formative age, Dr. Donald Ross Paul is an esteemed educator, researcher and academic administrator who has been serving the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) for more than 50 years. First hired by the academic institution as an assistant professor of chemical engineering in 1967, a role he held for three years, he was soon promoted to associate professor in 1970 and then full professor in 1973 – a position he still holds today. During his tenure at UT Austin, Dr. Paul also served as the chairman of the Department of Chemical Engineering, as a T. Brockett Hudson professor of chemical engineering and as the Melvin H. Gertz Regents Chair of Chemical Engineering.
Continuing to teach at UT Austin, Dr. Paul also holds additional responsibilities as the Ernest Cockrell Sr. Chair of Engineering since 2001 and as a director of the Center for Polymer Research since 1981. Retiring from his post as director of the Texas Materials Institute in 2008 after one decade of service, his research interests include the properties and treatment of polymeric materials, as well as the use of polymer membranes in water purification and reverse osmosis systems.
At the inception of his career in 1960, while pursuing his bachelor’s degree, Dr. Paul served E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. in Richmond, Virginia, as a chemical engineering researcher for one year. Thereafter, while attaining his graduate and doctoral degrees, he was an instructor within the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison between 1963 and 1965. After receiving a Doctor of Philosophy, Dr. Paul went on to excel as a chemical engineering researcher at the Chemstrand Research Center in Durham, North Carolina, from 1965 to 1967.
Demonstrating versatility in his field, Dr. Paul has authored or co-authored several books and articles, including the books “Controlled Release Polymeric Formulations” in 1976, “Polymer Blends” in 1978, “Polymeric Gas Separation Membranes” in 1994 and “Polymer Blends: Formulation and Performance” in 2000. He has also been extensively published in Polymer Science and the Journal of Membrane Science.
In light of his success and contributions to the field, Dr. Paul has earned myriad accolades and recognitions. In 2005, he received the Founders Award and the Alan S. Michaels Award from the North American Membrane Society, as well as a Distinguished Service Citation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000. Additionally, in 1999, he received the E.V. Murphree Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry from the American Chemical Society, who also bestowed upon him the Phillips Award in Applied Polymer Science in 1984 and the Doolittle Award in 1973.
Likewise, Dr. Paul holds the 1984 Best Fundamental Paper Award and the 1998 William H. Walker Award from the South Texas Section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He also earned the 1998 Malcolm E. Pruitt Award from the Council for Chemical Research, the 1994 Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award from North Carolina State University and the 1994 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award from UT Austin. Other accolades to his credit have also included the 1982 Outstanding Achievement in Research Award from the Society of Plastics Engineers, the 1977 Engineering Award from Teaching General Dynamics Corp. and the 1975 Educational Service Award from the Plastics Institute of America, among several others.