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KU's final Foundation Professor to bring expertise in engineering environmental solutions

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

LAWRENCE — A prominent chemical engineer who helped create a top refrigerant that is safe for Earth’s ozone layer will join the University of Kansas as a Foundation Distinguished Professor.

Mark Shiflett, who has worked at DuPont since 1987, will join KU in August as the last of 12 Foundation Professors. He currently serves as technical fellow for DuPont Central Research and Development and as an adjunct professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Delaware.  

At KU, he will be Foundation Professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and conduct research at KU’s Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis (CEBC). The Foundation Distinguished Professor initiative is a unique partnership between the university and the state of Kansas to attract a dozen eminent scholars who support one or more of the university’s four strategic initiative themes. 

“Mark has been described as possessing a rare combination of talents that make him a world-class scientist, inventor, team leader and educator,” said Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Sara Rosen. “His ideas, insight and drive will elevate KU’s programs and propel our strategic theme to sustain the planet and power the world.”

The Foundation Professor position is an opportunity for Shiflett to research and explore beyond the application of an industrial setting. Although he has spent his career on the East Coast, Shiflett is no stranger to KU’s people and programs. He previously collaborated with Associate Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Aaron Scurto and his research group.

Shiflett’s research interests, which center on separations, ionic liquids and green chemistry, have led to the development of three environmentally safe refrigerant mixtures for DuPont, one of which has generated more than $1 billion in revenue. He holds 44 patents and has several patent applications pending. He has published more than 70 scholarly articles and is a reviewer for a number of chemical engineering research journals. He is a frequent presenter and invited lecturer at conferences and has appeared across the United States and in Canada, Germany, Spain, China, Austria, Ireland and Japan. 

In addition to his research-intensive career, Shiflett has been an adjunct professor at the University of Delaware since 2011. Courses he has taught include chemical engineering laboratory classes as well as junior- and senior-level research courses. 

“Adding Mark Shiflett to our faculty will substantially enhance the research prominence and visibility of the already successful Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis,” said Michael Branicky, dean of the School of Engineering. “He brings a strong potential to increase research support for the CEBC, the school and the university.”

CEBC focuses on the so-called green chemistry and green engineering principles to develop cost-competitive processes to produce chemicals needed by a variety of industries while also striving to reduce waste and conserve natural resources. DuPont is one of the charter industry members of the CEBC and has had a representative serve on CEBC’s Industry Advisory Board. The board guides and advises CEBC researchers on challenges and trends in the industry.

Industry and entrepreneurial experience are highly prized among university engineering programs nationwide. Shiflett recently founded a company that manufactures bioderived lubricants and greases for the cycling industry.

“It is clear that he is an enthusiastic and dedicated teacher who is in significant demand at the University of Delaware,” said Distinguished Professor and Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department Chair Laurence Weatherley. “He will bring valuable industrial and professional perspectives that benefit our students.”

He is active in both the American Chemical Society and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. In 2006 he was awarded the ACS Heroes of Chemistry Award, and in 2005 he received DuPont’s Bolton Carothers Innovative Science Award for advances in environmental science. He was awarded Fellow status in AIChE in 2014 and in the ACS Industry and Engineering Chemistry Division in 2015.

Shiflett earned a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware in 2002, a master's degree in chemical engineering from Delaware in 1998 and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University in 1989.


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Saturday, January 20 | 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Sam and Connie Perkins Central Court, 317
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The Art Cart is a drop-in activity station where children and grown-ups enjoy hands-on art projects together, taking inspiration from original works of art. After traveling the world, Sallie Casey Thayer donated her collection of objects to KU to form what is now the Spencer Museum of Art. Learn about Mrs. Thayer and create a painted folding fan to start your own collection.

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Sunday, January 21 | 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Kemper Family Foundations Balcony, 408
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Slow down at the Spencer and spend time getting to know one great work of art. Slow Art Sunday features one work for visitors to contemplate and converse about with Museum staff. In January, get to know Steel Wool Peignoir by Mimi Smith.

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Wednesday, January 24 | 7:30 p.m.
Free State Brewing Co., 636 Massachusetts St.
The Cambrian is a time in Earth’s history when many modern animal relatives make their first appearance. It is also a time when many bizarre animals without modern relatives appear in the fossil record. At this Science on Tap, Dr. Julien Kimmig will talk about the diversity of animals during this amazing period and what it can teach us about the future of life on earth. 

Career Close-ups: Developing a Career in the Museum World
Friday, January 26 | 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Auditorium 309
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Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to explore how any major can lead to a career in a cultural organization. A panel of museum professionals will share their experiences, followed by a networking reception and behind-the-scenes tours of KU’s museums. This year’s panelists include: Dina Bennett (Mulvane Art Museum, Washburn University), Glenn North (Black Archives of Mid-America), and Adrianne Russell (Cabinet of Curiosities). Advance registration is required at www.spencerart.ku.edu/career-closeups. Please register by January 24. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/476618689399321/
Sponsored by the Spencer Museum of Art, KU Natural History Museum, University Career Center, and the Museum Studies Program.

Final Friday: Community and Culture Closing Celebration
Friday, January 26 | 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Watkins Museum of History, 1047 Massachusetts St.
The Watkins, in partnership with the Max Kade Center and the Lawrence Opera Theatre, present an evening of 19th-century German-American music and cuisine.

Discovery Day: Celebrating Kansas
Sunday, January 28 | 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
KU Natural History Museum, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd.
In honor of Kansas Day, join us for hands-on activities that are all about Kansas wildlife, plants and fossils. 

Kenneth A. Spencer Lecture: An Evening with Eve L. Ewing: Poetry in Context
Wednesday, January 31 | 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St.
Eve L. Ewing is a sociologist, poet, essayist, artist, and educator whose research focuses on racism, social inequality, urban policy, and the impact of these forces on American public schools and the lives of young people. Dr. Ewing earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University and is recognized as a leader and social influencer, especially in conversations involving academia, writing, black women, and the intersection of politics and popular culture. Sponsored by The Commons.

University in the Art Museum for Graduate Students
Thursday, February 1 | 3 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, 1301 Mississippi St.
University in the Art Museum introduces graduate students to opportunities for object-based teaching, learning, and research through collaborative partnerships with the Spencer Museum of Art. This workshop includes discussions led by graduate students in the departments of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Geography; and Atmospheric Science. Advance registration is required by Monday, January 29. Register online at https://spencerart.ku.edu/uam.

Extraordinary Animals: Awesome Adaptations
Sunday, February 4 | 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
KU Natural History Museum, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd.
At this new monthly animal event, parents and children are invited to learn about animals of Kansas. Museum Animal Specialist Ashley Welton will offer presentations about animal adaptations using touchable specimens from the museums collections at 1:15, 1:45 and 2:15 pm. 

FeBREWary at the Watkins
Thursday, February 15 | 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Watkins Museum of History, 1047 Massachusetts St.
The Watkins, in partnership with Lawrence Beer Co., presents an evening of beer, food, and knowledge! Enjoy beer and a fascinating talk on brewing provided by Lawrence Beer Co., plus food from local restaurants and an informal museum tour. Tickets are $15 for DCHS members, $20 for non-members. You may sign up online or contact the museum at 785-841-4109. We recommend buying in advance. Ages 21 and over only, please. More information and registration.

Winter Table: An Evening of Herpetology
Wednesday, February 28 | 6:30 p.m.
KU Natural History Museum, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd.
A celebration of more than 100 years of KU herpetology research programs and the careers of Linda Trueb and Bill Duellman. Explore the Natural History Museum's reptile and amphibian collections and enjoy appetizers and drinks. Dine in the Panorama Gallery with KU herpetology scientists and students conducting reptile and amphibian research across the globe. 

6:30 pm: appetizers, drinks and science salon
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$50 per person 

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