Honoring a Family Tradition of Education - The Cameron Family

For the Camerons, the pursuit of higher learning is a family tradition, one with immeasurable value. For Norman and Beverly Cameron, both retired academics from the University of Manitoba, and their youngest son, Fraser, currently a PhD engineering student at Stanford, making a donation to the AIChE John J. McKetta Scholarship Fund in memory of their late brother/brother-in-law/uncle, Dr. Gordon Murray Cameron, was the perfect way to honor this tradition while supporting the profession held so dear by Dr. Gordon Cameron.

“All three  institutions left an indelible mark on Gord’s analytical and engineering abilities that served him well throughout his career.”

“We knew how much Gord loved being a chemical engineer and how much he valued his engineering education. Helping to educate future chemical engineers seems like a good way to honor Gord’s contribution to the chemical engineering profession.”

Gordon Cameron was the second son of Murray and Vera Cameron, both teachers and one (Murray) a former high school principal. From an early age, Gordon excelled academically. After graduating early from high school, Gord enrolled in Canada’s Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario and then Queen’s University for his undergraduate education.  He went from there to the University of Delaware for his PhD work.

“All three  institutions left an indelible mark on Gord’s analytical and engineering abilities that served him well throughout his career.”

When Norman and Beverly first inquired about making a memorial donation to an AIChE scholarship, they had two requirements: first, the scholarship had to be open to Canadian chemical engineering students (since Gordon was a  Canadian); and second, the scholarship had to be large enough to make a real financial difference to the recipient.

The John J. McKetta Scholarship turned out to be a perfect fit for the Camerons’ philanthropic goal - on many levels. Not only did it meet their specific requirements, it also pays tribute to another education aficionado and devoted family man, Dr. John J. McKetta (of the University of Texas at Austin), who established the scholarship in 2003 to support the transition of chemical engineering students into the workforce.

“The education of young engineers was a favorite topic with Gord, and he would be pleased to know that a memorial donation in his name will help a talented young chemical engineer advance his or her professional development.”

Dr. Cameron started his working career as a Process Engineer with C-I-L in Montreal in 1960  and went on to become one of the founders of Chemetics International, ending as their Vice-President of Technology until his retirement in 1988.

Following his retirement from Chemetics International, Dr. Cameron founded his own company, Cecebe Technologies Inc., where he licensed his technologies and provided engineering support to Monsanto Enviro-Chem Systems and to Noram Engineering and Constructors. In 2005 Gord  released his patents to Noram Engineering and Constructors and went on to start an independent company G. & M. Cameron Technologies Inc.

From the mid-1970’s on Dr Cameron was a continual driving force of a revolution within the sulphuric acid industry and was recognized as an industry leader in technology and innovation, including gas cleaning preparatory to the acid production. A few of his more significant accomplishments include being co-inventor and developer of the industry standard anodically protected stainless steel acid cooler, inventor of the radial flow gas-to-gas heat exchangers, recipient of  over 80 patents, and author of over 40 technical papers.

When asked what they imagined Gordon’s advice would be for young professionals pursuing chemical engineering, Norman and Beverly said:

“First, learn the basic fundamentals of engineering well and be sure that you come back to these fundamentals when faced with difficult problems. Second, look carefully within your industry for a niche that might have been mostly forgotten or where there’s been little to no change in many years. Then look for economic benefits that could result from making changes in these areas.”

This useful and innovative advice is certainly an approach Dr. Gordon Cameron took throughout his own career path and the reason why his work will leave a lasting impression on the sulphuric acid industry.

For Norman, Beverly and Fraser Cameron, Gordon’s accomplishments as a chemical engineer and the passion he held for his work made the decision to give to AIChE an easy one. Beverly’s father, Kenneth E. Coulter, also served as President of AIChE in 1975/76, further encouraging the decision to give back to AIChE and the chemical engineering profession. 

“Gord enriched our lives, the lives of his family, friends, and colleagues and the chemical engineering profession. Gord’s was a life well lived.”

The Camerons are truly champions of education - and AIChE couldn’t be more grateful for their support and generosity.