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Don Rasmussen to be Named Professor Emeritus at Clarkson University

Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Don H. Rasmussen will be named professor emeritus at Clarkson University's 124th Commencement on May 13. He will be honored for 40 years of exemplary service to the University.

Don H. RasmussenIn 1974, Rasmussen was the first person to graduate from the University of Wisconsin with a Ph.D. in material science and engineering. In 1977, he joined the faculty at Clarkson, bringing with him his keen passion for research.

“I had to work while I was attending college and I found a second job at the American Foundation for Biological Research,” he recalls. “The Foundation was working on so many interesting things then, including the cryopreservation of cells and tissues. I had a mentor who hired a bunch of undergrads to work in his lab, so I was into research before I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I got my teeth into research and have loved it ever since.”

With the belief that “everyone has an opportunity when they're open-minded,” Rasmussen was always interested in engineering but began his education by studying chemistry, then mechanical engineering and metallurgical engineering, which led him to material science and a strong respect for cross-boundary research.

After receiving his bachelor of science, master of science and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, he stayed on as a researcher but eventually ventured east to Boston to give a speech. He was interested in what was going on at Clarkson then because of the work noted chemists were doing in nucleation and crystallization. A little later, he seized the opportunity to speak at Clarkson, not realizing he was under consideration to teach there. One thing led to another and he was hired as a professor of chemical engineering.

Rasmussen helped get the New York State Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP) established while pursuing his research interests in nucleation, aerosols, laser-plasma deposition of metal powders, and related topics. He received $2,860,466 in external funding for his research at Clarkson. In recognition of his achievements, he was inducted into the Million Dollar Club in 1998, the same year it was founded. More recently, he performed research for the GE Oil & Gas project.

An active scholar, he authored more than 80 papers in archival journals. In addition to his research accomplishments, Rasmussen has been an excellent educator and mentor during his career at Clarkson. In 2002, he received the Omega Chi Epsilon Chemical Engineering Professor of the Year Award.

“About 20 of my Ph.D. students have gone way beyond me,” he says with pride. “I still get a charge out of contacting previous doctoral students and learning what they are doing.”

Born into a long line of Wisconsin farmers, Rasmussen has maintained an open mind and avid curiosity throughout his career. That won't change with his retirement.

“I'll continue to do research at Clarkson, but it's a matter of focusing on what is important,” he says. “I'll still teach and I look forward to working with colleagues on problems that need a little extra thought. We scientists often trap ourselves. We need to talk to someone else and get their view and rethink issues.”

He and his wife live in Canton, with two adult daughters not far away. “We enjoy them,” he says, “Retirement will give us some more time together.”

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

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[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Kelly Chezum, VP for External Relations, at 315-268-4483 or]

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