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Sources: Andrew Burch,;
John English, 785-532-5590,;
and Walter Walawender, 785-532-4318,
News release prepared by: Rosie Hoefling, 785-532-6415,

Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2009


MANHATTAN -- For the 15th year in a row, Kansas State University's student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers is being recognized as one of the best in the nation with the institute's Outstanding Chapter Award.

The award will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Nov. 8 in Nashville, Tenn.

According to Walter Walawender, adviser to the chapter and professor of chemical engineering at K-State, the award is limited to just 10 percent of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers' chapters and is based on the professionalism, participation and service of the chapter in the previous academic year. The K-State chapter is among 15 chapters receiving the honor this year.

Walawender has been adviser to K-State's chapter for all 15 years that it has received the honor.

"The chapter's success in being recognized by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers for 15 years is a reflection of the desire on the part of the student leaders to continue a tradition that was started many years ago," Walawender said. "Each year, a new group continues to build on the past. I only provide encouragement and make a major effort to account for all of the year's accomplishments in the nomination for the award."

Andrew Burch, senior in chemical engineering, Overland Park, and current president of the chapter, said that the chapter participates in many activities every year, including bringing in representatives of the chemical engineering industry to speak to students and taking part in three service projects. The projects involve activities like raking leaves for elderly citizens of Manhattan and participating in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

Burch said that the award shows that the K-State College of Engineering works hard to find great students who also do a great job as leaders of the college's student organizations. He said that the chapter would work to maintain its excellence.

John English, dean of the K-State's College of Engineering, said that he attributes the award to leadership, specifically student leadership; leadership from the college's department heads; and the steady leadership of Walawender and his willingness to be the adviser to the chapter for so many years.

"Fifteen years of being recognized as one of the top chapters in the nation is a major achievement for the chemical engineering department," English said. "Student leadership is at the heart of that, and I think that is evidence of our great chemical engineering program."

The 2008-2009 chapter officers that helped the chapter receive the Outstanding Chapter Award include: James Swanson, senior in chemical engineering and pre-medicine, Arkansas City, president; Jacob Carver, May 2009 bachelor's graduate in chemical engineering, Easton, Mo., vice president; Sarah Forman, May 2009 bachelor's graduate in chemical engineering, Salina, secretary; and Paul Migwi, senior in chemical engineering, Wichita, treasurer.

More information on the K-State chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers is available at