John P. Sachs, AIChE Foundation Trustee and Former President

April 10, 2013

John P. (Hans-­Peter) Sachs, an AIChE Fellow and President of the Institute in 1985, died on Feb. 20, He was 86 years old and lived in Wilton, CT.

Across decades, Sachs served AIChE in many capacities, including his tenure on the Board of Directors in the 1980s and his recent activities as a Trustee of the AIChE Foundation.Peter Lederman, Chair of the Board of Trustees and a former AIChE Director, remembers his colleague as “a very thoughtful leader and contributor to AIChE.” He noted, in particular,Sachs’s contributions as a member of the Government Relations Committee from the mid-­1980s to the mid-­2000s.

Born in Düsseldorf, Germany,Sachs immigrated to the United States and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. After earning a PhD in chemical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in 1952, he began working for companies in the chemical, polymer, and graphite industries, including Union Carbide and Great Lakes Carbon, which he later led as president and CEO.

In a 2008 interview, Sachs said that his connection with AIChE also began in 1952, when he attended his first AIChE Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA. “It was at that meeting when I realized what an important influence AIChE is," he recalled. “AIChE provides you with the opportunity to make peer contacts, to see what others in your profession are doing, and to volunteer … You are always learning. I became motivated at that meeting by the firm belief that AIChE is part of your education.”

Sachs said that a key experience that reinforced his commitment to AIChE was the Bhopal tragedy in Dec. 1984, which occurred just as he was assuming the AIChE presidency.This event led to AIChE’s establishment of the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) in March 1985. “This was a very meaningful time of my life and my involvement in AIChE,” said Sachs.

In recent years, Sachs worked with the AIChE Foundation, where he supported activities such as AIChE’ 21st Century Campaign, the Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE) program, and the AIChE Centennial Celebration.

Outside of AIChE, Sachs served on the Advisory Board of the Chemical and Environmental Engineering Dept. at IIT. He also served on the Board of Trustees of Fairfield Univ.(CT) from 1980–1992, where he supported the campus ministry and established a scholarship for nursing students, and from which he received an honorary doctorate.

Sachs is survived by four childrenand five grandchildren. His wife,Mary Kay, died in 2011.

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