Westmoreland Receives Van Antwerpen Award for Service to AIChE

This fall, ChEnected is introducing readers to AIChE’s 2023 Institute and Board of Directors’ award recipients.  

The F. J. and Dorothy Van Antwerpen Award is presented to a member of AIChE who has made outstanding contributions to the chemical engineering profession through service to AIChE, in both the professional and technical areas of Institute activities. Franklyn Van Antwerpen, the award’s namesake, served as AIChE’s Secretary and Executive Director from 1955–1978. The award is sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company.


The 2023 Van Antwerpen Award is being presented to Dr. Phillip R. Westmoreland, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University. 

Westmoreland and the other Institute and Board of Directors’ Award recipients are receiving their honors at the 2023 AIChE Annual Meeting, November 5–10 in Orlando, Florida.

Westmoreland’s work

Phillip Westmoreland received his chemical engineering training at North Carolina State, Louisiana State University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned his BS, MS, and PhD, respectively. His career path includes early experience at Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL), followed by more than 20 years on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He returned to NC State as a professor in 2009.

Dr. Westmoreland pioneered the use of computational quantum chemistry in chemical engineering. His integration of theoretical and practical quantum chemistry into academic chemical engineering contributed to his being recruited for the Executive Board of AIChE’s Program Committee. He helped to establish several AIChE technical divisions and forums, and was later elected as an AIChE Director (2008–2010) and as the 2013 AIChE President.

Westmoreland became involved with AIChE as an undergraduate. Later, while at ORNL in the 1970s, he served in public relations and communications capacities for AIChE’s Knoxville-Oak Ridge Local Section. During his time at UMass Amherst, he reactivated the Central New England Section. He went on to become active in Institute-level programming, which resulted in new meeting sessions on combustion reaction engineering, microelectronics, and photonics. He also helped to establish AIChE’s Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division.

In the 1990s, Westmoreland’s research on quantum chemistry and kinetics in hydrocarbon and fluorocarbon combustion brought computational quantum chemistry to AIChE’s programming. He collaborated on sessions devoted to computational chemistry and its industrial applications, and taught related short courses at AIChE Annual Meetings and the AIChE/ASEE Summer School for Engineering Faculty. In addition to leading topical conferences on molecular simulation and computational chemistry, in 2000 Westmoreland became the founding chair of AIChE’s Computational Molecular Science and Engineering Forum.

His many programming contributions ushered him into the Executive Board of the Program Committee (EBPC), which he chaired in 2005. As part of EBPC, he established programming standards by co-authoring a “Topical Conference How-To Guide” (with W. S. Winston Ho), and a “National Program Committee Manual.” In 2003, he also helped found AIChE’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Forum. 

More about Westmoreland’s contributions to AIChE

As an AIChE director (2008–2010), Westmoreland was appointed to a President’s Blue-Ribbon Committee on Government Relations, which developed objectives for the renamed Public Affairs and Information Committee (PAIC). Also, as a liaison to AIChE’s Societal Impact Operating Council, he worked with like-minded members to increase the inclusivity of AIChE’s activities.

He introduced many of the main themes of his AIChE presidential cycle (2012–2014) in the ChEnected series “We Are ChE: Entering a Golden Age.” Themes included the increasing breadth of chemical engineering, with material and biological science becoming a core component of the profession; the expansion of AIChE as a global home for chemical engineers; and advanced manufacturing as an opportunity for academicians. As Past President, in 2014, he led the effort to develop AIChE’s first climate policy statement.

While serving as a program director at the National Science Foundation (2006–09), Westmoreland saw opportunities for engineers to advance manufacturing through data science and process intensification. As AIChE’s president-elect, he involved the Institute in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Institute, and he worked to increase AIChE’s process-intensification activities. This work prepared AIChE to launch its DOE-supported Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Manufacturing Institute. Westmoreland has remained involved in this area, serving on the Editorial Advisory Board of AIChE’s Journal of Advanced Manufacturing and Processing since 2018.

A Fellow of AIChE, Westmoreland has remained emersed in the life of the Institute, co-organizing studies on academic-industry alignment, including expectations for new ChE graduates; chairing the PAIC and writing its quarterly “ChE in Context” column in CEP magazine; co-initiating the recent National Academies study “New Directions for Chemical Engineering”; and serving as a Trustee of the AIChE Foundation, among other contributions. 

This fall, ChEnected is presenting profiles of the 2023 Institute and Board of Directors’ Award recipients. Visit ChEnected regularly to read about the honorees.

See all 2023 award winners