PULLMAN, Wash. — Battelle executive Dennis B. Cearlock received Washington State University’s Alumni Achievement Award Sept. 20 at a Sigma Nu fraternity board meeting in the chapter house. He was recognized for “Superb corporate achievement as founder, president and CEO of two national companies, as an executive for Battelle Memorial Institute, and for generous support of Washington State University and Sigma Nu.”
During a professional career spanning nearly 40 years with Battelle, Cearlock has distinguished himself as a civil engineer and research scientist. He also is founder of two specialty pharmaceutical companies based in Columbus, Ohio. He is president and CEO of Zivena, Inc., a Battelle subsidiary pharmaceutical company started in 2002 that develops and markets oncology drugs. Earlier he founded BattellaPharma, Inc., and served as president and CEO from 1999-2002. The firm develops and markets inhaled drug products.
Cearlock holds a bachelor’s degree (1964) and a master’s (1965) in civil engineering from WSU. His doctorate (1977) is from the University of Washington. He joined Battelle Northwest as a research scientist in the water resources section in 1965 and was named section manger in 1975. From 1975-83 he directed Battelle Northwest’s government and industrial programs. Later he was director of research for Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In the early 1990s, he was promoted to corporate senior vice president and general manager at Battelle’s world headquarters in Columbus, where he was responsible for leading the company’s global health and pharmaceutical business.
Cearlock served on WSU’s College of Engineering and Architecture Advisory Board from 1984-98. He helped the college start the Center for Digital-Analog Integrated Circuits as an industry/university cooperative research effort. “This activity was quickly adopted by the National Science Foundation and formalized as the college’s first National Science Foundation supported center,” said Reid C. Miller, former Dean. Cearlock also played a key role in helping support from Battelle for scholarships that now total more than $550,000.
When he was employed by Battelle in the Tri-Cities, he chaired the establishment of Leadership Giving Program at United Way of Benton and Franklin Counties. At the time there were only seven donors giving at $1,000 or more. Thirteen years later (2003), that number is at an all-time record of 884 who have pledges totaling more than $1.5 million.
When a February 2000 fire forced the closure of Sigma Nu, he was instrumental in a fund-raising campaign to renovate the chapter house. He offered a dollar for dollar match challenge to other alumni.
Cearlock and his wife Merrily Crook Cearlock (’82 M. Ed.) live in Dublin, Ohio.