engineering profession. But Max wanted to be where the action was, and he chose rigorous infantry training as an Army ski trooper in the 10th Mountain Division, A Company, 85th Regiment. He participated in the Italian Apennine Mountains and Po Valley campaigns, winning numerous medals for his service, including two Bronze stars, the Silver Star, and the Purple Heart.
Following World War II, Max returned to Penn State as a graduate student and earned his master’s degree in chemical engineering in 1947. He also married his childhood sweetheart, Laurnell Louise Stephens, that year and went to work as a technical plant superintendent for the G. I. Treyz Chemical Company in New York. In 1949 he returned once again to Penn State, where he completed his Ph.D. in chemical engineering in 1951.
Thus began a career in which he would have a far-reaching impact as a teacher, an administrator, and a leading air pollution researcher. He joined the faculty of the University of Illinois in 1951, and within a few years started research on air pollution controls, including studies on reducing nitrogen oxide from automobile exhausts catalytically and the effects of lead on these catalysts. Eventually, his work and that of others led to the use of catalytic converters in automobiles and the elimination of lead from gasoline.
Max rose to become head of the Division of Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois. He spent just 10 years at Illinois before leaving to become the eighth dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado, Boulder. From 1962 to 1978, Max led the engineering school through the construction of a new, modern-day engineering center and oversaw significant increases in research funding and improvements to graduate education. “It was a golden time for research funding,” he recalled upon his retirement in 1987.
Richard Seebass, who was dean of engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder, when Max retired, is quoted as saying that “Max never ran a race he couldn’t win.” Indeed, he succeeded in winning a $7.2 million grant from the state of