Dr. Robert E. Cohen, a noted expert in polymer engineering and science, has been named the inaugural Raymond A. and Helen E. St. Laurent Professor of Chemical Engineering.
Dr. Jackie Y. Ying, whose field is the synthesis of sol-gels, has been named the inaugural Raymond A. and Helen E. St. Laurent Career Development Professor of Chemical Engineering.
The announcements were made by Professor Robert A. Brown, former head of the Department of Chemical Engineering and now dean of the School of Engineering.
The chairs were established with a gift from the late Mrs. Helen St. Laurent, who died in March 1995. Her husband, Raymond St. Laurent, a member of the Class of 1921, died in September 1971.
Mr. St. Laurent was an active alumnus who for many years was an honorary secretary of MIT. In 1969, he was awarded the Bronze Beaver, the highest award of the Association of MIT Alumni/Alumnae, for his outstanding service to the Institute and its alumni. He was president of the Class of 1921 until his death.
Mrs. St. Laurent was always an enthusiastic supporter of MIT, said D. Hugh Darden, associate treasurer of MIT, who knew the St. Laurents well. "Mrs. St. Laurent increased her involvement in alumni/ae activities and events after her husband's death. She had a special fondness for MIT and a great optimism for its future."
Both Mr. and Mrs. St. Laurent were born in Boston. As an undergraduate, Mr. St. Laurent was general manager of The Tech and the founder and general manager of the country's first college technical magazine, Tech Engineering News. He received the SB in 1921 and the SM in 1922, both in chemical engineering. He began his career with Arthur D. Little in Boston and the technical sales division of Standard Oil Co. of Indiana in Chicago, then joined Rogers Paper Manufacturing Co. in Manchester, CT, in 1929. He was vice president in charge of marketing when he retired from Rogers in 1963.
Professor Cohen received the BS (1968) degree from Cornell University and the MS (1970) and PhD degrees (1972) from the California Institute of Technology. He joined MIT as an assistant professor in 1973, became associate professor in 1977 and professor in 1982. He directed MIT's Program in Polymer Science and Technology from 1984-87 and was associate chair of the MIT faculty from July 1989 to June 1991. Since 1992 he has been chair of his department's Committee on Graduate Studies.
He previously held the Bayer Professorship in Chemical Engineering (1988-92) and the Miles Professorship of Chemical Engineering (1992-1995).
Professor Ying, who joined MIT in 1992, holds the BE degree (1987) from The Cooper Union, and the MA (1988) and PhD degrees (1991) from Princeton University. She is interested in the synthesis of sol-gels and nanocrystalline materials for applications in advanced ceramics and catalysis.
She was an NSF-NATO Postdoctoral Fellow and Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at the Institute for New Materials in Germany in 1991-92.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 31, 1996.