"I often introduce myself during AIChE committee meetings as 'AIChE Junkie' to describe my affiliation. AIChE has given me many opportunities to serve the profession, and that reinforces my commitment to whatever service I may provide."- Bill Doumas
Bill began his relationship with AIChE in 1954 as the Club Reporter for the AIChE Student Chapter at what was then known as Virginia Polytechnic Institute, now known as Virginia Tech. Its motto is Ut Prosim- That I May Serve. It is abundantly clear from Bill's fifty plus years of service to AIChE that he has been faithful to that principle and, in turn, the chemical engineering profession has benefited in numerous ways.
Bill's leadership and generosity have already made a difference in the value AIChE provides especially to our younger members. Bill has been a loyal supporter and advocate of student programs through the years, including the WISE Internship Program. Additionally, Bill's leadership involvement and ongoing support for AIChE's Centennial Celebration Activities over the past eight years (the last five as committee chair) has also enhanced outreach and educational programs for AIChE student members and young professionals.
However, when Bill made the decision to include AIChE in his long-term plans, a decision which he made over 10 years ago, he truly served as a pioneer in the establishment of AIChE's planned giving program.
"I was a member of the AIChE Executive Committee when the Institute mounted its first fundraising campaign. In that capacity I felt it was important for me, as an officer, to support the (planned giving) program."
As we celebrate the centennial of AIChE's founding this year, as well as the "founding" of the AIChE Legacy Society, we are honored to recognize the philanthropic commitment of individuals like Bill whose leadership and foresight will provide lasting support for future generations of chemical engineers.
When asked if there was a specific moment, person or special occasion that influenced his decision to "give back" to AIChE, Bill responded with the sense of humor and candor we have all come to know so well:"First of all, I don't think I had an epiphany, and there are too many folks to name who inspired me to become a chemical engineer and, later, to get involved with Institute activities. Suffice it to say that sometimes it has been a stubborn pursuit of an intended goal to make all the difference."
As for Bill's advice for the next generation of chemical engineers: "I would urge them to become a member of AIChE and to get involved with its many career-building activities. A favorite reference that I use when speaking to AIChE Student Chapters is 'Succeed in the Workplace' which appeared in the January 2007 issue of CEP. Authored by G. Stanley Sebastian of Boehringer Ingelheim Chemicals, Inc., his original title for the piece was “10 Things Your Mom Never Told Your about the Workplace and How to Succeed” when he made a presentation at the Hampton University Student Chapter a number of years ago. He enthusiastically agreed when I suggested that he prepare it for publication. Above and beyond all the hard work of completing coursework, research, etc, one should never forget the value of interpersonal skills in working with people of any stripe. Stan's article embodies a lot of what should be practiced."
Bill's generous spirit and extraordinary service to the Institute has inspired many others to follow in his footsteps. And he is not finished yet. "Over the past two years I have been slowly withdrawing from leadership roles in AIChE. Chairing the Centennial Committee was my last leadership role and that ended with the Philadelphia meeting. But Wait! I’ve been tapped to join the AIChE Foundation Board of Trustees, and I’ve (and this has been my own doing) also joined the Admissions Committee. Surely this means that I’ll retain my sobriquet – 'AIChE Junkie.' "