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Su Ha named George Austin Endowed Director

Closeup of Su Ha
Su Ha

Su Ha has been named the George Austin Endowed Director of the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering.

Support for the endowed position comes from Paul Hohenschuh (’64 BS, ’69 MS) and Marjorie Winkler and is named in honor of George Austin, the Voiland School’s first department chair. 

Hohenschuh grew up in Washougal in rural southwestern Washington. When he came to WSU with support of a scholarship, he was overwhelmed by the rigorous program in chemical engineering as well as continual financial stress. Two professors, George Austin, who was department chair, and Harry Stern, were particularly instrumental in helping him continue his education at critical times. Austin taught chemical engineering from 1947 to 1979. He was the program’s department chair from 1950-1973, and for a few months in 1979 prior to his retirement.

“I credit Dr. Austin as providing that unique combination of toughness and caring that propelled me to complete my chemical engineering degree within four years and within my resources,” said Hohenschuh.

After graduating from WSU, he became plant production supervisor with Monsanto. He later moved into manufacturing management positions and eventually served on the executive team that evaluated venture capital investments in the emerging biotechnology industry. He played an instrumental role in developing the relationship between Monsanto and Genentech, joining Genentech in 1982 as the head of manufacturing operations. Over the next eighteen years, he continued to lead manufacturing as the company became one of the world’s leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. He retired as vice president of manufacturing.

Hohenschuh has been a longtime advisory board member for both the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture and the Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Voiland School as well as the Graduate Alumni Achievement Award from the WSU Graduate School and the Graduate and Professional Students Association.

Ha, the newly named George Austin Director, has been with WSU since 2005 and is the director of the O.H. Reaugh Laboratory for Oil and Gas Processing. He has published more than 110 papers in the areas of energy conversion and generation from alternative and renewable fuels. His group’s research has focused on generating hydrogen gas via thermochemical and electrochemical processes, carbon capture and utilization, and fuel cells. He received the Voiland School Outstanding Teaching Award twice and was named a 2014 Highly Cited Researcher from Thomson Reuters. His research has been cited more than 5,800 times. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree and PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Ha replaces retiring school director Jim Petersen and interim director Alla Kostyukova.

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