Note to Reporters: Photos are available with the press release at http://www.news.colostate.edu.
Ken Reardon, Colorado State University engineering professor, has been designated the Jud and Pat Harper Endowed Chair of Chemical and Biological Engineering – a prestigious honor named after a former president of the university.
Reardon is a leading expert on the production of biofuels as well as biotechnology for detection of environmental pollutants. In 2009, he worked with Cenergy, the university’s vehicle for commercializing innovative clean and renewable technologies, to spin off OptiEnz Sensors LLC, which will develop, manufacture and sell biosensors to detect food and water contaminants.
“This is a well-deserved honor for Professor Reardon, who has been a tremendous asset for the College of Engineering,” said Sandra Woods, dean of the college. “He is an example of the faculty members in our college who collaborate with industry partners as well as other disciplines to develop innovative alternative energy solutions. We are grateful to the Harpers for their additional contribution to his research and for their long-term support and leadership within CSU and the College of Engineering.”
The funds for Reardon’s position were pledged in 2007 by longtime Colorado State supporters Jud and Pat Harper, who named Colorado State University the beneficiary of a $1 million life insurance policy. Jud Harper’s distinguished record of service at the university includes serving as interim president from July 1989 through June 1990 and as vice president for Research and Information Technology from 1982 to 2000. Previously, he served as professor and department head of Agricultural Engineering (later Agricultural and Chemical Engineering) from 1970-1982.
In 2000, Harper accepted a part-time appointment as special assistant to the president under Al Yates until he fully retired in 2003. He has served on the College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board and the Chemical Engineering Advisory Board.
Pat Harper has also been a strong ambassador for the university through such groups as the Colorado State University Women’s Association.
Endowed chairs help to attract and retain outstanding scholars and teachers, providing them with recognition and additional funding. Funds may be used to help upgrade laboratories and equipment as well as for seed money to develop innovative technologies with the help of undergraduate and graduate students.
Reardon has been at the university since 1989 and is responsible for attracting $10.7 million – largely federal research dollars – to CSU. He is the Colorado State University site director for the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels, or C2B2. C2B2 was founded in March 2007 by the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory, a consortium consisting of four institutions: Colorado State University, the Colorado School of Mines, University of Colorado-Boulder and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Reardon’s research group blends engineering analysis with proteomics and other experimental methods from microbiology and biochemistry to gain insights into biological systems. These approaches are used in projects in bioprocessing (including the production of biofuels), environmental biotechnology, biosensing, and biomedical science and engineering. His biofuels-related research began more than 20 years ago with a project on the production of butanol from sugars and now includes studies on algal biorefineries and enzyme bioprospecting.