A decorated and distinguished educator, a leader in improved-oil-recovery research, a prolific author and editor of the definitive handbook on chemical engineering, Don Green has left an indelible mark on the University of Kansas School of Engineering and the profession.
After two years in industry working as a research engineer for Conoco, Green began his career at KU in 1964. He quickly earned a reputation as an exceptional instructor for his ability to challenge and inspire students, as well as his friendly demeanor, accessibility and willingness to engage his students at their level of understanding.
Green served two terms as department chair, from 1970-74 and from 1996-2000. Under his guidance, chemical and petroleum engineering continued to grow and flourish. He oversaw the introduction of specialist concentrations in the B.S. degree program, such as a pre-medical option, led in the addition of three female faculty members to the department and promoted the role of the Department Advisory Board in assisting various department activities.
A recipient of numerous teaching awards, perhaps Green’s greatest achievement is in the special regard his students hold for him. In 1988, he won KU’s H.O.P.E. (Honor for the Outstanding Progressive Educator) Award – which is the only KU award for teaching excellence bestowed exclusively by students. In addition to his win, he was a finalist for the H.O.P.E. award seven additional times over the course of his career. He received the School of Engineering Gould Award for Outstanding Teaching five times and in 2001 was awarded the Chancellor’s Club Career Teaching Award.
In 1974, Green helped start an initiative, KU’s Tertiary Oil Recovery Project (TORP). This research center has made substantial contributions to the fundamental understanding and development of what are termed Improved Oil Recovery (IOR) processes. TORP also developed a program of technology transfer to independent operators, which became a model for the country. As co-director for TORP’s first 33 years, Green oversaw the center’s growth into a nationally recognized organization that brought significant benefits to independent oil producers, especially those in Kansas.
Green has a distinguished list of writing and editing achievements. He’s authored or co-authored 70 referenced publications and more than 100 technical meeting presentations. He served as the editor on the sixth, seventh and eighth editions of Perry’s Chemical Engineers Handbook – and currently is in the process of editing the ninth edition. This is the definitive reference work in chemical engineering, known and used throughout the world by multiple generations of engineers. He is also co-author of the textbook “Enhanced Oil Recovery,” published in 1998 by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and which he is currently revising.
For his contributions over the years, Green has received recognition from the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). In 1983, he was given the SPE Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty, was an SPE Distinguished Lecturer in 1986-87, and in 2006 was awarded the IOR Pioneer Award by the SPE. In 2007 he was named as an Honorary Member of the SPE, the highest honor awarded by the Society, limited to just 0.1 percent of the membership. He is also a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He retired from KU in 2009.
Green and his wife, Pat, celebrated their 60th anniversary last fall. They have three sons; Guy, an engineer, Michael, an attorney and Patrick, a physician. All have two children each, giving Don and Pat six grandchildren.