Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Department History

Earle Hall is the first building on campus to be named after a living person. Dedicated as the chemical engineering building in 1959, Earle is home to intense research in chemical and biochemical separations, kinetics and catalysts, molecular modeling and simulation, polymers, fibers and films, and supercritical fluids.

 

Samuel B. Earle

Earle Hall is named for Samuel B. "Sam" Earle, who served Clemson for 40 years as head of the Engineering Department and Experiment Station. He also served as acting president in 1919, as well as in 1924-1925. Sam Earle celebrated his 100th birthday before his death in 1978.

  • Chemical Engineering was first introduced as a course of study at Clemson in the 1917-1918 academic year. There was no Chemical Engineering department or faculty; the curriculum was drawn from courses in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Metallurgy, and Economics.
  • Only seven students were enrolled in the 1920-1921 curriculum.
  • The first four Chemical Engineering graduates, graduated in 1923.
  • From 1923 to 1933, Chemical Engineering did not show up in the University Catalog and the enrollment died out after the 1924-1925 academic year.
  • In the 1933-1934 academic year, the curriculum was reintroduced -- again with no department, courses or faculty. In order to entice students into the curriculum, The University Catalog described Chemical Engineering with the following words. "Competition is compelling the industries to abandon rule-of-thumb methods. They are using more and more men trained in the principles of Chemical Engineering - to design their plants and to supervise the operation of various processes."
  • The Unit Ops Lab developed during the 1930s.
  • A total of 27 students enrolled in Chemical Engineering for the 1934-1935 academic year.
  • By the 1939-1940 academic year, a total of 81 students were enrolled. That same year, the curriculum no longer appeared under the supervision on Engineering, but under the Chemistry Department, with a new name: Chemistry-Engineering. Chemical Engineering remained a part of the Chemistry Department until 1946.
  • In 1946, the Chemical Engineering curriculum was once again under supervision of Engineering. For the first time, it was listed under the Department of Chemical Engineering with its own courses.
  • The University Catalog listed two faculty members in the Department of Chemical Engineering for the 1947-1948 academic year: C.E. Stoops, Jr., Professor and Head, and C.E. Littlejohn, Assistant Professor. Prof. Stoops earned a B.S. ChE from Ohio State in 1937 and a Ph.D. from Purdue in 1941. Prof. Littlejohn graduated from Clemson with a B.S. in Chemistry-Engineering, obtained a Masters in Chemical Engineering from N.C. State in 1941, and completed one year of graduate work toward a Ph.D. at Virginia Tech from 1946 to 1947.
  • Dr. Allan Berne-Allen was listed as the Department Head for the 1948-1949 academic year. Dr. Berne-Allen received a B.S.E. from Michigan in 1924, Ch.E. in 1933 and a Ph.D. in 1936, both from Columbia. He served as the Head of the Department from 1947 until 1955.
  • The Clemson Society of Chemical Engineers became affiliated with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) in early 1949.
  • Clemson became a "civilian" and coeducational institution in 1955.
  • In the fall of 1955, Prof. Littlejohn was the only faculty member and thus, the Department Head. At this point, sixteen Chemical Engineering courses were listed in the University Catalog; eleven were required courses. Enrollment stood at 125 young men and 2 young women.
  • In January 1956, George Meenaghan joined the faculty. The enrollment for the 1956-1957 year was up to 156.
  • In 1958 Chris Alley and Bill Barlage accompanied the Chemical Engineering Department and enrollment had climbed to 184 students.
  • Also in 1958, Clemson received a grant of $1.175 million from the Olin Foundation to construct a building and purchase chemical engineering equipment. Prof. Littlejohn played a large role in getting Earle Hall built. Prior to 1958, the Olin Foundation limited its building gifts to one per institution; however, Earle Hall was the second building that the Olin Foundation funded at Clemson University.
  • The groundbreaking ceremony for the Samuel Broadus Earle Building was held on September 27, 1958.
  • The undergraduate Chemical Engineering program was first accredited by the Southern Association of the Engineer's Council for Professional Development (ECPD) in 1959. (The ECPD was renamed the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in 1980.)
  • A Master of Science program in Chemical Engineering started in 1960 and in 1962, the Ph.D. program was added.
  • Metallurgical Engineering was initially taken on by the Department in 1962; however, it was relinquished to the Ceramic Engineering Department in 1964.
  • Clemson was renamed Clemson University from Clemson Agricultural College of SC in 1964.
  • The first Ph.D. in Engineering was awarded to Jerry A. Caskey in 1965, a student under Bill Barlage.
  • The first female to graduate with a degree in Chemical Engineering from Clemson was Susan Glen Herrington, class of 1970.
  • The Department of Chemical Engineering took a major loss when Prof. Littlejohn passed away in 1975.
  • Bill Barlage took over as Department Head in 1975.
  • Steve Melsheimer served as Acting Head of the Department from 1986-87, Acting Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies 1993-96, and Associate Dean from 1996-2006.
  • Charles Barron served as Department Head from 1987-1994.
  • Dr. Beth Gainey Stoner was the first female to receive a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 1991.
  • Dan Edie served as Department Head from 1994-1995.
  • Charles Gooding served as Department Chair from 1996-2000.
  • James Goodwin, professor at the University of Pittsburgh, was hired into the position of Department Chair in 2000 and served until 2009.
  • The first female professor to ever be hired into the Department was Sarah Harcum in 2002.
  • On February 2, 2005, the name of the department was changed from the Department of Chemical Engineering to the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering.
  • Douglas Hirt was named as Department Chair in 2009, first as Interim and then in a "permanent" position in 2010.

Earle Hall