Red Cedar Circle Awards

The Red Cedar Circle was initiated in 2000 to recognize MSU Chemical Engineering Alumni for their distinguished service to the profession and outstanding commitment to the community. The Red Cedar river passes through the center of the MSU campus, and is a favorite gathering place on campus. The Red Cedar Circle award recognizes the importance of this landmark to MSU alumni.

2011 Award

Joseph F. Gentile
Bachelor of Science, 1964 & Master of Science, 1966

Joseph F. Gentile (BS ’64, MS ’66 Chemical Engineering) notes with pride that when he began his master’s program, he became Dr. Martin Hawley’s first graduate student. “I will always be grateful for his continuing encouragement to pursue my interest in computers.”

After graduation, he joined Diamond Alkali Company (later Diamond Shamrock Corporation) in Cleveland, where he was assigned to the computer automation group. He directed the installation of computer control systems throughout the company. From 1969 to 1970, he served in the U.S. Army at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, where he used the Army’s self-built computer to help set specifications for the government’s procurement of petroleum products.  In 1977, he joined the corporate headquarters staff at Diamond Shamrock as manager of planning for management information science, and in 1979 was named manager of telecommunications and planning. In 1982, he joined Amoco Corporation in Chicago as manger of telecommunication planning. During the next 18 years, he progressed through a series of positions with increasing responsibilities, including divisional chief information officer, and finally, North American Year 2000 assurance manager. He retired from BP Amoco (now BP) in January 2000. Later in 2000, he co-founded Sagitta Technology Partners, Inc., to help senior business leaders better manage their company’s use of information technology resources.

He has served on the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Alumni Advisory Board since 2000, and was elected chair in 2002. He has also served on the College of Engineering Alumni Association Board since 2004 and was named chair in 2009.  Serving on these boards is a true testament to his commitment and generosity to the department, college, and university.

Joe and his wife, Karen, currently live in Plainwell, Michigan. They enjoy spending time with their daughter, Kristen (Rick), and son, David, as well as their three grandchildren.

2010 Award

Carl L. English
Bachelor of Science, 1968

Carl English (BS ’68, Chemical Engineering),chief operating officer of American Electric Power (AEP), is responsible for the company's utility business operations and related business functions, including regulatory services, environment, safety, health, and shared services operations. In his prior position as president of AEP Utilities, he was responsible for commercial operations, regulatory services, electric transmission and distribution, and customer operations, serving more than 5 million customers in 11 states.

A native of Jackson, Mich., Carl earned his BS degree in chemical engineering from Michigan State University in 1968. Inspired by Martin Hawley, one of his professors, Carl participated in the national AIChE student design contest his senior year; he placed third, the first time an MSU student had finished in the final top three in that competition. Many MSU ChE students have since gone on to win a number of national awards in that contest.

After receiving his MBA in 1969 from MSU, Carl began his career with Consumers Power Company (now Consumers Energy Company), which currently serves 1.7 million electric and 1.6 million natural gas customers in Michigan. He progressed through a series of positions with increasing responsibilities, including vice president of Gas Distribution and Customer Services, vice president of Electric Distribution, and president and CEO of the Gas Division.

A testament to his deep dedication to his hometown of Jackson, Carl had served on several industry boards and committees while at Consumers. He continues to be extremely active in his community today, serving as board chair of Directions for Youth & Families and the New Albany Community Foundation. He also serves on a number of other boards including the United States Energy Association, CompeteColumbus, the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, and the Columbus Downtown Housing Investment Funds Board.

2009 Award

Alton "Rick" Berquist
Bachelor of Science, 1961

Rick Berquist (BS ’61, Chemical Engineering) was raised in Carney, Michigan, a small town of 250 people in the Upper Peninsula. He hails from a family with an entrepreneurial spirit; and when his parents started a propane distribution company, they made sure that the entire family was involved. They were all MSU fans as well. Consequently, Rick and his brother, Barry, made decisions to attend Michigan State University. After completing his undergraduate degree at MSU, Rick obtained his MS (’63) at the Colorado School of Mines and then did PhD studies at Georgia Institute of Technology.  Following graduation, he began his career at Sinclair Research, Inc. as a group leader in chemical engineering computer systems and programs. He then moved on to The Ansul Co., where he was manager of operations research. Rick spent the majority of his career as the co-founder, CEO, and chairman of Marmen Computing, Inc. in Menominee, Michigan. Here he developed and ran the Michigan Product Information Exchange (MiPIE) and the Nationwide Database for SBA (PASS). He was also the founder, CEO, and chairman of Silvan Industries, Inc., a pressure vessel manufacturer in Marinette, Wisconsin. He brought this closed firm out of bankruptcy and built it into a world-class company serving the entire United States, as well as Japan and Europe. Rick credits the great education he received at MSU for his confidence to do his life’s work.

2008 Award

Terence K. Kett
Master of Science, 1965 & Doctor of Philsophy, 1968

Terry Kett (MS ’65, PhD ’68, Chemical Engineering) was born in England and emigrated with his parents and two sisters to Chicago at age 13. He became a proud citizen of the United States while attending graduate school at MSU.Following graduation, he joined Exxon and enjoyed a rewarding 34-year career, serving in interesting and challenging management and executive positions before retiring in 2002. His career included assignments throughout the United States and in France and England. Of note was his involvement in the Exxon-Mobil merger where he was responsible for the design and sizing of the combined downstream engineering organizations of the two companies. Following the merger, he managed the five engineering divisions located around the world, providing project and technical support for ExxonMobil’s 40+ refineries (Houston, Toronto, London, Singapore, and Tokyo).

A dedicated Michigan State supporter, Terry served on the Engineering Alumni Board from 1982 to 1986. He and his wife, Betty, a graduate of the MSU College of Education, established an endowment to support students pursuing careers in math education in the College of Education. Terry avidly follows all Spartan sports and lives and dies through every football and basketball game.

2007 Award

William B. Larson
Bachelor of Science, 1953

William B. Larson (BS ’53, Metallurgical Engineering) has expended his considerable talents during a long, distinguished career as an engineering leader for General Motors. The structural and materials innovations resulting from his work during the sixties led to significant cost savings and are in common automotive use today. Under his leadership in the early 1970s, GM designed vehicles for evaluation by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration that incorporated the first application of many safety features used today. He also developed a full line of cars and trucks as director of engineering for GM’s subsidiary, Vauxhall Motors Ltd. (1971–75) and led a revision of GM’s entire product line as director of engineering for GM’s Truck Group (1984–95).

Bill maintains strong ties with MSU. The College of Engineering bestowed on him its highest honor in 1991—the Claud R. Erickson Distinguished Alumnus Award. He received the MSU Alumni Association’s Service Award in 1999. He has served for years on alumni boards for the department, the college, and the university. He and his wife, Barbara, established an endowment fund in 1990 to support the college in maintaining a reputation for offering a “world-class contemporary education."

Bill is a member of the American Society for Metals, the Engineering Society of Detroit, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (UK), in which he is a fellow, and the Society of Automotive Engineers. In 1994 the SAE elected him a fellow and honored him with the Forest R. McFarland Award. Always ready to give of himself, since retirement Bill has volunteered at Focus: HOPE in Detroit where he helped organize an engineering operation and mentored students.

2006 Award

Joon S. MoonJoon S. Moon
Bachelor of Science, 1960

Born in South Korea, Joon S. Moon became a U.S. citizen shortly after graduating from MSU. He earned his PhD (’63) in chemical engineering from the University of California–Berkeley. While at Berkeley, he was awarded a fellowship by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. Over 30 years ago, he founded Moon Chemical, the first of many companies. He has been responsible for the development of the chemicals used in such popular household products as Roman Cleanser, Sani-Flush, and Liquid-Plumr. He was appointed in 1991 by then Michigan Governor John Engler to the Michigan International Trade Authority, which provides export assistance for small and medium- sized companies.

Moon has been active on the boards of numerous universities and corporations. He served on the MSU College of Engineering Alumni Board and has been involved with the MSU Foundation for many years. He and his wife, Zaida, are devoted supporters of their alma mater, and are members of MSU’s Jonathan L. Snyder Society. One of their most prominent gifts was the Mirdza Kuze Library Endowment Fund, named for Mrs. Moon’s mother. The endowment enabled MSU Libraries to begin a Baltic collection. Another gift in 1991 established the Joon S. Moon Distinguished International Alumni Award, which each year honors an international MSU graduate who has made outstanding contributions in his or her field.

Moon’s philosophy of working harder than the competition while maintaining a clear set of values encourages the people and corporations he affiliates with to achieve their business goals while exemplifying good citizenship.

Moon will also be awarded the Michigan State University Alumni Association (MSUAA) Distinguished Alumni Award September 28, 2006, at the Grand Awards Ceremony.

 2005 Awards

David John "John" Ogren
Bachelor of Science, 1965

John’s 37 years at the senior management level include projects in Europe, South America, and Canada. After receiving his BS in chemical engineering from MSU in 1965, John was a process engineer for Conoco in Ponca City, Oklahoma. Ultimately becoming senior vice president of administration, John negotiated a complex asset sale and ensured compassionate treatment for employees when DuPont acquired Conoco in the 1970s. DuPont tapped John to be president of DuPont Canada, and later executive vice-president of human resources. Becoming president and CEO of Production Operators in Houston in 1994, he led the company to a number-one position among its competitors before retiring in 1999. He is now a non-executive chairman of WellDynamics and serves on three other company boards. John is a registered Professional Engineer in Oklahoma and a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and the American Petroleum Institute. Faithful supporters of our college, the Ogrens were especially generous toward the 1997 construction of the Dow Institute for Materials Research. John has served on the department’s board of visitors and on the college alumni board. The Ogren Family Trust supports many local causes, and John and his wife, Chris, are involved in the hands-on running of several community service organizations.


John Warren Pridgeon (1935-2004)
Bachelor of Science, 1958

 John’s career began at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Y-12 plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, after he received his BS in metallurgical engineering from MSU in 1958. While employed, he earned an MS at the University of Tennessee (1963) and attended the Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program (1975). John spent 10 years at the Stellite Division of Cabot Corporation in Kokomo, Indiana, then was president of Special Metals Corporation in New Hartford, New York, until 1985, when he became president of his own consulting company and of Chemtech, Ltd., of Utica. In 1988, he joined Allvac, an Allegheny Technologies Company, retiring as senior vice president in 2001. Always active in ASM International (formerly American Society for Metals), John became a fellow in 1973 and served as both president (1985-86) and treasurer (2001-03). He was also chair of the local Carolinas Southern Piedmont Chapter (2003-04). In 2002 he received the prestigious Medal for the Advancement of Research in recognition of his leadership in developing advanced processes and alloys.
The American Vacuum Society gave him an award in 1999 for 35 years of contributions to vacuum metallurgy.

 2004 Awards


Herbert Kirby
Bachelor of Science, 1956

Following graduation from MSU, Herb Kirby worked in various engineering and management positions at Continental Oil. He became executive assistant to the president at Allied Corporation in 1973, becoming vice president and general manager of the fertilizer division in 1982. At the pinnacle of his career, he led a group of fellow employees in the successful buyout of a major division of Allied Corporation. Under Herb's leadership as president and CEO, and following several mergers and acquisitions in the early nineties, the spin-off company, Arcadian Corporation, ultimately became a cornerstone unit of the largest fertilizer company in the Western Hemisphere. He retired in 1990 as CEO, but continued to serve on the Arcadian board of directors through 1997 when the company was merged into the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan.

Herb has been actively involved in numerous professional organizations, in community service, and in his local church. He has been honored by Tau Beta Pi and is also a past member of the National Freight Traffic Association, the Transportation Association of America, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, as well as a former director of the Fertilizer Institute. Herb also strongly supports the College of Engineering and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, serving on the advisory boards for both.

He has served on many civic boards and committees and as councilman, deputy mayor, and mayor for the Borough of Mountain Lakes, New Jersey. He was named "Mountain Lakes Citizen of the Year" in 2000. He and his wife have dedicated much time to the New Jersey Center for Hospice, of which he is a board trustee. Herb also serves on the board of trustees for Lakeland Hills YMCA, and on the advisory board for the Mountain Lakes Medical Needs Foundation.

George E. "Ted" Willis
Bachelor of Science, 1942

Ted Willis came to Michigan State College on a boxing scholarship, having spent his early years working out at former Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis's gym in Detroit. He later switched to fencing and was the 1941 and 1942 co-captain of the MSU varsity fencing squad. He maintained his standing as a world-class fencer in the USA National Championships through 1982 and won 14 gold medals in the International Senior Olympics. He returned to MSU every year for 15 years for the annual alumni-varsity meet, and was undefeated until 1983, when he still won three matches, one against MSU's top varsity fencer. He received the 2003 Jack Breslin Life Achievement Award from the MSU Varsity "S" Club.

Five days after graduation from MSU, Ted was at Fort Bragg; he had passed the army physical, despite his nearsightedness, by memorizing the eye chart. During his service in World War II, he received the Bronze Star, the Oak Leaf Cluster, and seven Battle Stars, and retired with the rank of Major. One of his adventures involved directing the gunfire of U.S. naval ships from a position on land during the successful recapture of Attu and Kiska, the two Aleutian islands held by the Japanese. Another time, he traveled by glider close to the French side of the Little Maginot Line to help stop the German army from crossing over from Italy.

Back in the States, Ted earned an MBA at Harvard, then began his career as an engineer with Lincoln Electric Company in Cleveland, which is today the world's leading manufacturer of arc welding products. He contributed many engineering and manufacturing innovations in wire drawing, metal forming, extruding, and chemical processing and developing. Rising to CEO in 1986, he led his company, originally worth a few million dollars, to a ranking of 375 in the Fortune 500 at the time of his retirement in 1992. He was known among his employees for integrity, fairness, and generosity.

During his meteoric rise at Lincoln Electric, Ted founded the Health Fund of Greater Cleveland, which drew outstanding medical researchers and eventually large NIH grants to the area. He has provided leadership and support for the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland, the Boy Scouts of America, and the YMMCA. He has been active in his local church over the years.

2002 Award

Wilfred G. Shedd
Bachelor of Science, 1950

Bill Shedd was born in Rockford, Illinois. His father, Ward R. Shedd, graduated from Michigan Agricultural College in 1902, and later taught Mechanical Engineering at the college. Bill is the youngest of three boys in the family all earning a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from Michigan State College.

Bill went to work after graduation for Surface Combustion Co. in Toledo, Ohio. At the time, Surface, was the largest manufacturer of industrial gas furnaces in the world. After two (2) years, he was recalled to the United States Air Force where he served two (2) years on active duty the last year of which was in Korea. After separation from the service, Bill returned to Surface Combustion Co. where he became a sales engineer working out of their Chicago, IL sales office. Toward the end of 1959 Bill left Surface to become one of three incorporators in a new commercial heat treat in Fort Wayne,called Metallurgical Processing, Inc. Bill served the Fort Wayne Chapter of the American-Society for Metals as its President in 1966-1967. Metallurgical Processing, Inc. becameactive in the development of nitrogen-based atmospheres for gas carburizing and carbo-
nitriding during the 1970s. This project was done as an energy saving program in
conjunction with the United States Department of Energy and Air Products Corporation, In the 1990s, Bill was active in the Metal Treating Institute serving as its President in 1994-1995. From that time till Bill sold the company to Curtiss-Wright Corporation's Metal Improvement, Inc. division he served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Manufacturers. In 2001, the W. G. Shedd Materials Science Endowed Discretionary Fund was established. Bill has had a life long interest in M.S.U. athletics supporting both football and basketball teams with season passes and participation in the Ralph Young Fund.

2000 Awards

R. William Caldwell

Bachelor of Science, 1938

Bill Caldwell was born in Ludington, Michigan, where he still maintains a home for his extended family. As an undergraduate, Bill worked during the summers for Dow Chemical and continued with Dow after graduating in 1938. Bill rose through the ranks in Dow where his leadership abilities were soon recognized. To better prepare him for high-level management, Bill graduated from the Harvard School of Business Administration in 1963. During the 1960's Bill was Chairman and President of Dow Corning International and starting in 1968 became President and Director of Gruppo Lepetit in Italy, a Dow joint venture. He retired from Dow-Lepetit in 1975 and has spent the intervening years actively involved as a business consultant and as a director or trustee of various companies, including Neogen, a firm with Lansing roots. In 1979 Bill received the Michigan State University Distinguished Alumni Award and in 1983 he earned the Claud R. Erickson Award, the highest award offered by the College of Engineering at Michigan State. He is a member of the MSU President's Club and the Hannah Society. He has served in numerous community posts, including service as President of the Midland Board of Education.

Edwin J. Crosby
Bachelor of Science, 1950

Edwin Johansen Crosby was born in Flint, Michigan and, following his undergraduate studies in mathematics and chemical engineering at Michigan State, received his doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1955. Following two years at DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware and as a special lecturer at the University of Delaware, Ed took a post as a Fulbright Research Scholar at the Technical University of Denmark. In 1958 he returned to the University of Wisconsin as a professor, where he spent the rest of his career. Ed was a pioneer in the field of atomization, spray processing and the use of high speed film to study droplet collisions. He also authored a very widely used book Experiments in Transport Phenomena and was universally regarded as an inspiring and effective teacher. Shortly before his untimely death from cancer, Ed endowed the Johansen Crosby Professorship in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University. This endowment has been instrumental in enriching the undergraduate program in the Department.

The Johansen-Crosby Endowment

Michael H. Dennos
Bachelor of Science, 1943

 After 18 years with Schenectady Chemicals in New York, Michael Dennos returned to the family bakery business,Chef Pierre, which was started by his father in 1922. With great effort and sacrifice, Mike and his extended family built up Chef Pierre until it became the largest employer in the Traverse City area of Michigan. Mike was named President of Chef Pierre in 1973 and Chairman and CEO in 1981. Following the purchase of Chef Pierre by Sara Lee Corporation, Mike retired in 1986 as an Executive Vice President of Sara Lee. One of the formative influences in Mike's life was his relationship with Professor Maurice "Doc" Larian during his undergraduate years. Mike has been a generous supporter of Michigan State and of a variety of community programs. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Interlochen Music Center and in 1991 he and his wife Barbara established the Dennos Museum on the campus of Northwestern Michigan University. In 2000 Mike received the Claud R. Erickson Award, the highest honor offered by the College of Engineering at Michigan State, in recognition of his many contributions to the University and to his community.

William J. Hargreaves
Bachelor of Science, 1946

Bill Hargreaves at the June 2000 award ceremony. Bill Hargreaves was born in Bay City, Michigan. After service in the United States Navy during World War II, he graduated from Michigan State in 1946 and began a career with Dow Corning. He did postgraduate work at Case Western Reserve University, graduating from there in 1959 and is also a 1966 graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University. Bill was elected to the Board of Directors of Dow Corning in 1976 and served until retirement in 1986. Bill was named an Executive Vice President of Dow Corning in 1977. Named in Who's Who in America, Bill is a member of the President's Club of Michigan State and also of the MSU Benefactors Society. He is also active in community life, serving as a the President of the Red Cross Chapter, an Elder of the Memorial Presbyterian Church in Midland, MI, a trustee of Delta College, a trustee of the Midland Hospital Board, and a member of the Midland Chamber of Commerce Board.Quote for students: "Grind it out, but keep in mind it only happens once, so enjoy all of it while you are there, and don't lose track of your church."

John D. Hetchler

Bachelor of Science, 1935

 John Hetchler was born in Howell, Michigan and is a self-described "farm kid". He attended Michigan State in the depths of the Great Depression, graduating in 1935. John worked in a shoe store to support himself as a student. He would hitch hike to campus in the early morning and attend classes until 2 in the afternoon, then hitch hike downtown to the shoe store where he worked until 9 p.m. After work he would walk the two miles to his home, eat the dinner his mother had prepared and then study until 2 a.m. The next morning he would get up and do it all over again. After graduation John worked for Archer Daniels Midland, Inc. in the plant oils business and, after a number of years in this field, decided to start his own firm. His first business venture failed but John was undeterred and in 1963 he started Sea Land Chemical with a friend. John traveled the world to build up his firm until it became a thriving business. He retired as President of Sea Land in 1983 and presently serves as Chairman of the Board of that company.

Bernard A. Paulson
Bachelor of Science, 1949

 Bernie Paulson at the June 2000 award ceremony. Bernie Paulson was born in Lakeview, Michigan. After graduation he began a career in the oil industry, eventually rising to become President of Koch Refining Company and a Vice President of Koch Industries, Inc. Following his retirement in 1988 he has become a business consultant and Chairman and CEO of The Inspection Group, Inc. and President and CEO of Tor Minerals International. Bernie served as Director of the National Petroleum Refiners Association from 1974-1988 and in 1989 received the Fuels and Petrochemicals Division Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. His civic contributions are almost too numerous to list. Among others he was the Founding Director, President and Chairman of the Board of the Cleveland, Oklahoma Hospital Foundation, Director of the Wichita, Kansas, Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Mayor's Water Task Force for the City of Corpus Christi and a Chairman of the Art Museum of South Texas. He is also a former President of the Corpus Christi (Texas) Board of Trade. In 1994 he was honored with the Claud R. Erickson Distinguished Alumnus Award of the College of Engineering at Michigan State.

C. Robert Weir
Bachelor of Science, 1942

Bob Weir was born in Fremont, Nebraska. Following his graduation he served in the United States Navy during World War II. After the war he joined Commonwealth Industries (now a division of Masco Corporation), rising to become its President in 1959. He also served as President and Director of Comax Corporation from 1976 until his retirement. Bob was a member of the Board of Directors of the Cranbrook Michigan School System and the Bloomfield Hills Michigan Academy. A past president of the Metal Treating Institute he was also a member of the Michigan 49ers and the Economic Club of Detroit and has been very active in the Republican Party. In 1997 Bob received the Claud R. Erickson Award, the highest honor conferred by the College of Engineering at Michigan State.