Cedomir M. Sliepcevich

Born: October 4, 1920 | Anaconda, MT, US
Died: Thursday, October 22, 2009 | Norman, OK, US

Cedomir Sliepcevich begins his oral history interview with a description of his family and early years in Montana. After transferring to the University of Michigan for chemical engineering, he  received his BS, MS and PhD. While a graduate student, Sliepcevich studied thermodynamics under George Granger Brown. During World War II, he worked on a National Defense Research Council classified project and worked as a consultant for the US Army V-2 rocket test program. In 1955, he joined the faculty of the University of Oklahoma as Professor and Chairman of Chemical Engineering. Sliepcevich was instrumental in establishing the Flame Dynamics Laboratory. He founded his own firm, University Engineers, Inc., in 1963, which specialized in fire protection systems for liquid natural gas. The interview is not available in audio format. 

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0108
No. of pages: 64
Minutes: 470

Interview Sessions

James J. Bohning
1 March 1993
University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

Abstract of Interview

Cedomir Sliepcevich begins the interview with a description of his family and early years in Anaconda, Montana. A firm educational beginning in Anaconda influenced Sliepcevich to attend college. He enrolled in the chemical engineering program at Montana State College in 1937. During his sophomore year, Sliepcevich knew he wanted to go on to graduate school. In 1939, he transferred to the University of Michigan and received his BS, MS and PhD in chemical engineering there. While a graduate student, Sliepcevich studied thermodynamics under George Granger Brown. During the summer of 1942, he worked with Fred Kurata on a National Defense Research Council classified project on screening smokes. While earning his PhD, Sliepcevich was an instructor at the University, where he taught thermodynamics. After receiving his PhD in 1947, he also worked as a consultant for the US Army V-2 rocket test program. In addition to his career in academia, Sliepcevich continued to do consulting work for various companies, including Monsanto Chemical Company, Constock Liquid Methane Corporation, and Autoclave Engineers, Inc. In 1955, he joined the faculty of the University of Oklahoma as Professor and Chairman of Chemical Engineering. Sliepcevich was instrumental in redeveloping the University's doctoral program and engineering curricula, and established the Flame Dynamics Laboratory there. He founded his own firm, University Engineers, Inc., in 1963, which specialized in fire protection systems for liquid natural gas. He officially retired from teaching in 1991 and continued to work as a consultant on many research projects. Sliepcevich concludes the interview with reflections on his career. Audio recording of this interview is not available.  

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1941 University of Michigan BS Chemical Engineering
1942 University of Michigan MS Chemical Engineering
1948 University of Michigan PhD Chemical Engineering

Professional Experience

Self-employed

1942 to 1995
Private Consultant

University of Michigan

1942 to 1948
Associate, Research Institute
1942 to 1946
Teaching Assistant
1946 to 1948
Instructor
1948 to 1952
Assistant Professor of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering
1948 to 1955
Chairman of the Graduate Standards Committee for Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering
1953 to 1955
Associate Professor of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering

Autoclave Engineers, Inc.

1945 to 1990
Consultant
1961 to 1990
Board of Directors

Monsanto Chemical Company

1952 to 1953
Senior Chemical Engineer

Constock Liquid Methane Corporation

1955 to 1960
Manager of Research, Development, and Engineering, Conch Methane Services Ltd.
1960 to 1963
Principal Consultant

University of Oklahoma

1955 to 1959
Professor and Chairman of Chemical Engineering
1956 to 1962
Associate Dean of the College of Engineering
1963 to 1991
George Lynn Cross Research Professor of Engineering
1989 to 1991
Robert W. Hughes Centennial Professor of Engineering
1991 to 1995
Professor Emeritus of Engineering

Oklahoma State University

1958 to 1963
Chairman of the School of General Engineering

Constock-Pritchard Corporation

1961 to 1963
Board of Directors

University Engineers, Inc.

1963 to 1978
President and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Republic Geothermal, Inc.

1974 to 1975
Board of Directors

University Technologists, Inc.

1978 to 1995
President and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Honors

Year(s) Award
1958

Curtis McGraw Research Award, American Society for Engineering Education

1959

International Ipatieff Research Prize

1962

National Sigma Xi Lecturer

1964

George Westinghouse Award, American Society for Engineering Education

1967

Sesquicentennial Award for Distinguished Alumni, University of Michigan

1972

Member, National Academy of Engineers

1972

Peter C. Reilly Lecturer, University of Notre Dame

1973

Engineer of the Year, Oklahoma Society of Professional Engineers

1974

Engineer of the Year, National Society of Professional Engineers

1974

Oklahoma Hall of Fame

1975

Distinguished Service Citation, University of Oklahoma

1975

Award of Merit, Oklahoma Academy of Science

1976

Donald L. Katz Lecturer, University of Michigan

1978

William H. Walker Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers

1986

Gas Industry Research Award, Sprague Schlumberger, Operating Section, American Gas Association

1992

University of Oklahoma established C. M. Sliepcevich Professorship in College of Engineering

1993

First Honorary Member of the University of Oklahoma College of Engineering Distinguished Graduates Society

Table of Contents

Early Years
1

Growing up in Anaconda, Montana. Parents' history. Family emphasis on education. Working on local railroad. Decision to enroll in Montana State College.

College and Graduate School
5

Going into chemical engineering. Transferring to University of Michigan. Math Courses. Studying under professors Lee Owen Case, George Granger Brown and Donald L. Katz. Becoming a teaching fellow. G. G. Brown as thesis advisor.

Early Career
17

V-2 rocket testing program. Continuing in academia. Working for Monsanto Chemical Company. Biomedical research. Leaving University of Michigan for University of Oklahoma.

Teaching and Consulting
27

Consulting for Conoco. Chairman and Professor of Chemical Engineering at University of Oklahoma. Restructuring engineering department and curricula. Marriage to Cleo L. Whorton. NSF grants. Developing the Flame Dynamics Laboratory.

Later Career
40

Grant from National Bureau of Standards Fire Protection Division. Constock. Liquefied natural gas studies. Working for Office of Saline Water. Consulting work for NASA. Energy conservation. University Engineers, Inc. Consulting for Dow and Owens-Corning Fiberglas.

Final Thoughts
50

Presentation on thermodynamics. Retirement from academia. Serbian Orthodox Church. Reflections on career.

Notes
54
Index
58

About the Interviewer

James J. Bohning

James J. Bohning was professor emeritus of chemistry at Wilkes University, where he had been a faculty member from 1959 to 1990. He served there as chemistry department chair from 1970 to 1986 and environmental science department chair from 1987 to 1990. Bohning was chair of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1986; he received the division’s Outstanding Paper Award in 1989 and presented more than forty papers at national meetings of the society. Bohning was on the advisory committee of the society’s National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program from its inception in 1992 through 2001 and is currently a consultant to the committee. He developed the oral history program of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and he was CHF’s director of oral history from 1990 to 1995. From 1995 to 1998, Bohning was a science writer for the News Service group of the American Chemical Society. In May 2005, he received the Joseph Priestley Service Award from the Susquehanna Valley Section of the American Chemical Society.  Bohning passed away in September 2011.