Dr. Joseph N. Cannon Award for Excellence in Chemical Engineering

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Dr. Joseph N. Cannon is a chemical engineer, Howard University professor, and one of the seven founders of NOBCChE. In 2013, NOBCChE established the Joseph N. Cannon Award for Excellence in Chemical Engineering. This award recognizes an individual for excellent achievement in one or more aspects of chemical engineering, including teaching, research and development, management, leadership, publications, technology development, patents, engineering and construction, process operations and supply.

Joseph N. Cannon was born in Weldon, Arkansas, and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He says his father wanted him to go to a Big Ten school, so he enrolled in the University of Wisconsin and earned a B.S. in chemical engineering in 1964. Then, having heard good things about the University of Colorado in Boulder from friends who had gone to school here, he made the switch to the Big Eight and came to Boulder to begin graduate work. He received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Colorado in 1966 and 1971.

Between his master's and doctoral programs, Cannon returned to industry and worked for the Procter and Gamble Company for a time. He says that he hadn't yet decided upon an academic career but was encouraged in that direction by his advisors, Frank Krieth and Bill Krantz. In fact, Krantz told him about a ChE program that had just been launched at Howard University. "I was excited about the possibility of getting in on the ground floor," Cannon recalls. "I wanted to help shape the department, to be involved with increasing opportunities for minorities in technological education, and to be able to utilize the excellent research facilities in the Washington area." Cannon applied for a position, was hired, and went to Howard in 1971 as an assistant professor. Two years later, he was promoted to associate professor, and he became a full professor in 1979. In the meantime, in 1974, he became department chair and continued in that role until 1994.

He held an intermittent appointment as a research engineer with the Biomedical Engineering and Instrumentation Branch of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD from 1972 to 1978. Dr. Cannon has over 45 years of experience in the area of mathematical modeling and experimental investigations of processes involving momentum, heat and mass transfer. He is the co-author of a patent on Staged Cascade Fluidized Bed Combustion. He is a registered professional Engineer in the District of Columbia. During recent years Professor Cannon has focused much of his activities on pedagogy and intervention initiatives to retain African American students in STEM fields and to enhance the quality of engineering education for undergraduates. His work is documented in numerous publications. In addition, an interest in biomedical engineering and instrumentation led Dr. Cannon to pursue research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. He was also involved with colleagues at both Howard and NIH in developing a biomedical instrumentation research program at Howard.

Dr. Cannon has been recognized as an excellent teacher, receiving "Outstanding and Dedicated Service" awards four times from Howard's student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and an "Outstanding Chemical Engineering Faculty" award from the University's engineering student council. Dr. Cannon is also the 1983 recipient of the NOBCChE Henry C. McBay Outstanding Educator Award. He is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Society for Engineering Education, Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society, Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society of North America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 


The table below summarizes the winners of the NOBCChE Dr. Joseph N. Cannon Award for Excellence in Chemical Engineering.

Year Awardee Name Affiliation at the time of Award
2013 Dr. Derrick K. Rollins, Sr. Iowa State University
2014 Dr. Emmanuel Dada ChemProcess Technologies (CPT), LLC
2015 Dr. Reginald Rogers Rochester Institute of Technology
2016 Dr. Naa Lateokor McFarland Merck, & Co., Inc