At the May 9th commencement ceremony, the University of Houston will award honorary degrees to a top government official, a renowned professor, an exceptional basketball coach and a celebrated entertainer.
The four honorees are Eduardo Aguirre Jr., the former UH System Board of Regents chairman recently appointed to head a Homeland Security office; Neal Amundson, the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and Mathematics at UH; Guy V. Lewis, who coached the UH basketball team for 30 seasons; and Loretta Devine, the actress and singer whose recent credits include the movie “Waiting to Exhale” and the television series “Boston Public.” Each will be awarded the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
Amundson is regarded as one of the most prominent chemical educators in the country. A Minnesota native, Amundson began his distinguished academic career in 1933 as a freshman student at the University of Minnesota and remained there for his graduate and doctoral degrees. He joined the UH faculty in 1977, and served as provost from 1987 to 1989. A member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, he is the recipient of numerous other awards and honors, including two Guggenheim Fellowships; a Fulbright Scholarship; the Neal R. Amundson Award from the International Society of Chemical Reaction Engineering; the Medal of Merit from the University of Pennsylvania; the National Academy of Engineering Founder’s Award; the Computing and Modeling Association’s Albert Einstein Award; and the Esther Farfel Award, UH’s highest faculty award.
Amundson is being honored for “his dedicated service to UH; for his international preeminence in the chemical engineering field; for his pioneering contributions to the fundamental analysis of chemical processes; and for his leadership in chemical engineering education.”