Remembering a former department chair

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Ken O'Driscoll, a long-time chemical engineering professor and department chair, died earlier this month.

Born on Staten Island in New York, he received his bachelor’s in chemical engineering from Pratt Institute and his master’s and doctorate degrees from Princeton University.

He joined the University of Waterloo’s chemical engineering department as its chair in 1970.

Ken O'Driscoll

“He took great pride and delight in working with his students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows, and often remarked on the thrill of collaborating with these brilliant and driven young scientists,” reads his obituary.

O'Driscoll developed the Hydrophilic Contact Lens in 1971 and was the founding director of the Institute for Polymer Research at the University.

In 1996, he was named distinguished professor emeritus, an honour, his obituary says, that he greatly cherished.