"An Evening with the Stars" Reception
Mar 31, 2021 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
2021 Engaged Scholarship Symposium Panel Session # 2: "Space, the Next Frontier?"
Apr 01, 2021 10:15 AM - 11:30 AM
Al Sacco Jr. is dean of the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Before coming to Texas Tech, he was the George A. Snell Distinguished Professor of Engineering and the director of the Center for Advanced Microgravity Materials Processing at Northeastern University.
He flew as the payload specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia on shuttle mission STS-73 in 1995. The 16-day mission aboard Columbia focused on materials science, biotechnology, combustion science and fluid mechanics contained within the pressurized Spacelab module.
Born in Boston, Mass., Sacco completed a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, and a doctorate in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He then joined the faculty of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, becoming a full professor and serving as the chair of the chemical engineering department for nine years before joining the faculty at Northeastern. He has consulted for numerous companies in the fields of catalysis, solid/gas contacting, zeolite synthesis and applications, and equipment design for space applications.
Sacco has over 200 publications (including book chapters) in the areas of carbon filament initiation and growth, transition metal and acid catalyst and their deactivation, and zeolite synthesis, and he has been the principal investigator on more than $26 million in research grants. He has given over 500 invited presentations including commencement addresses, plenary and keynote addresses and is a Fellow of The American Institute of Chemical Engineers and full member of the International Academy of Astronautics. He has received numerous awards including four honorary doctorates (two in science, two in engineering), and was awarded the Nation's Space Flight Metal in 1995. In 2010 he received the 2010 Distinguished Chemist Award given by the New England Institute of Chemists, and in 2015 received the AIChE's 2015 Fuels and Petroleum Division Outstanding lifetime Achievement Award.
Using his space flight experience, Sacco has given more than 300 presentations to approximately 48,000 K-12 teachers and their students as a means to motivate students to consider careers in science and engineering.
Since joining Texas Tech in January 2011, he has raised more than three hundred million dollars for new buildings, renovations, scholarships and fellowships and has improved admission standards while seeing the college grow to more than 5,800 students in just 7 years. His program to require international experience for all undergraduates is the first of its kind for a state school in the nation.