Dr. Ralph Landau, Trustee
Ralph Landau, ChE '37, H '93, Trustee Emeritus, and
a leading technological entrepreneur and innovator
of the chemical and petrochemical industry, died on
April 6 at the age of 87.
University of Pennsylvania Trustee since 1977, Dr.
Landau was chairman of Listowel, Inc. He was
the co-founder of Halcon Scientific-Design Group which
developed ethylene glycol by thermal hydration--the
chief component of antifreeze and used in the process
of making Dacron polyester fiber. Halcon went on to
produce numerous other substances and Dr. Landau held
a number of significant patents.
was a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic
Policy Research and a consulting professor of economics
at Stanford. He was a retired director of the Aluminum
Company of America. Dr. Landau earned an Sc.D. in chemical
engineering at MIT in 1941, and holds honorary degrees
from New York Polytechnic Institute, Clarkson College,
and Ohio State University, in addition to Penn where
he received an honorary Doctor of Science, for being
an "imaginative engineer, self-trained entrepreneur,
and hand-on economist."
vice president of the National Academy of Engineering,
Dr. Landau served on the National Research Council's
Governing Board. He was a fellow of the New York Academy
of Sciences, a member of the American Academy of Arts
and Sciences, and was elected to the American Philosophical
Society in 1996.
recipient of over 50 awards and honors, Dr. Landau
received both the Petroleum and Petrochemical Division
and the Founders awards of the American Institute of
Chemical Engineers, in addition to the Chemical Industry
Medal, the Perkin Medal, and the Winthrop-Sears Award
for Chemical Entrepreneurship. In 1985, he received
the National Medal of Technology, and, in 1987, the
John Fritz Medal. In 1997, he was awarded the first
Othmer Gold Medal of the Chemical Heritage Foundation. He
was a life member emeritus of the MIT Corporation,
a senior trustee of CalTech, former trustee of Cold
Spring Harbor Laboratory, and former chairman of the
Princeton University School of Engineering Advisory
Landau was chair of the SEAS Board of Overseers, 1979-85
and continued on the Board until 1985. At SEAS, he
established the Ralph Landau Professorship in Management
and Technology, the Ralph Landau Fellowship, and at
the School of Veterinary Medicine, the Robert R. Marshak
Term Professorship in Aquatic Medicine. In 1977, he
was one of nine trustees and alumni who established
the challenge fund for the Million Dollar match to
help the annual giving program reach its goal of $4.5
Landau is survived by his wife, Claire, and his daughter,
Dr. Laurie J. Landeau*, WG '84, V '84, an overseer
at the School of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Karl von Vorys, Political
Karl von Vorys, professor of political science, died
at home on April 1, at the age of 76. He was a political
theorist who taught at Penn for over four decades.
in Germany, he came to the U.S. in 1948, received his
B.A. degree from the College of Steubenville (now the
Franciscan University of Steubenville) in 1950 and
his M.A. and Ph.D. from Georgetown University 1953
and 1955 respectively. He became an assistant
professor of political science at the University of
South Dakota that year. He continued his education
with fellowships from the Ford Foundation and the Social
Science Council at the University of Iowa, University
of Denver, and Harvard University. He became a Fulbright
lecturer in 1961 in international relations at the
University of Dacca then in Pakistan. It shaped his
intellectual perspective on the close tie between international
and domestic politics and established his style of
research that required knowing personally senior political
decision-makers. His relationships with the President
and other political leaders of Pakistan focused his
interest on political development and the problems
that foreign aid and contacts created as "an international
demonstration effect" of rising expectations, threatening
political stability. He returned to the U.S.
and joined the Center of International Studies at Princeton
and completed his first major book, Political Development
in Pakistan (1965).
became assistant professor of political science at
Penn in 1963, was promoted to associate professor in
1966, and in 1967 he accepted a position as Senior
Advisor to the Ford Foundation in Malaysia for two
years. Upon retuning to the U.S. in 1969, Dr. von Vorys
returned to Penn, becoming professor of political science
in 1976. He undertook two major educational projects
that he continued throughout the rest of his life.
The first was the Poverty Seminar that brought
together political scientists with senior political
decision- makers from Third World countries. "Dr. von
Vorys believed that there could be no viable secular
democratic development in a political system with extensive
and persistent poverty," said colleague Dr. Henry Teune.
second focused on undergraduates who had withdrawn
from political life after Vietnam and Watergate. "Dr.
von Vorys was determined to re-engage the young by
bringing together the perspectives of academics and
decision makers in the classroom," said Dr. Teune.
He brought in guest speakers including: Presidents
Nixon, Ford, and George H.W. Bush; Senators Eugene
McCarthy, George McGovern, and William E. Brock; press
secretaries, media executives, reporters, journalists
and military leaders. Students in the seminar usually
spent an evening on an aircraft carrier and a military
base. This semester the students stayed on the Harry
S. Truman and visited Fort Bragg.
is survived by his wife, Barbara; six daughters, Dr.
Marie-Christine deLacoste-Azizi, Julie von Vorys, Beverly
von Vorys-Norton, Natalie Elhardt, Carla McGuire and
Kristie Vorys; two sons, Eric, and Colin; 17 grandchildren;
and a great-grandson.
may be made to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital,
501 St. Jude's Place, Memphis, TN 38105.