Jack Babbitt ’42 Named One of Purdue's 2020 Outstanding Chemical Engineers

John F. Babbitt, Jr. (BSChE '48)

For his outstanding industry leadership, dedicated service to our country, and exemplary community involvement, the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering recognizes John F. Babbitt, Jr. as a 2020 Outstanding Chemical Engineer.

Jack Babbitt is a highly honored veteran, engineer, and community leader. Babbitt entered the military after graduating from high school, where he became a pilot, and achieved the rank of Captain in the United States Air Force. He had 30 missions in his B-17, with the final mission being a relief flight carrying food to the Dutch near the end of World War II.

After World War II, Babbitt enrolled at Purdue and graduated with a bachelor of science in chemical engineering in 1948. After graduating from Purdue, he began work on the Girdler and the Hydrogen Bomb project. Babbit then joined the newly formed First Mississippi Corporation, becoming President of the company within two years. He later joined Agrico Chemical Company, a subsidiary of The Williams Companies, as President, but left to form Devco International, Devco Overseas Company and several other personally owned companies which designed, built and operated facilities to process and market sulfur in the United States, Saudi Arabia and Australia.

In 2013, Babbitt received an Honorary Doctorate in Business from Hillsdale College. He has served on numerous boards, such as Hillcrest Medical Center, including a term as Chairman; a member of the board of The Master’s College & Seminary in Santa Clarita, California; Chairman of the Fertilizer Institute, a national association of fertilizer and agrichemical producers; was active in the Boy Scouts; served as President of the Indian Nations Council and served as a member of the Boy Scouts National Council. Additionally, he has served as a member of the board of The Little Lighthouse, an organization dedicated to bringing children with special needs up to their greatest potential.

During his retirement, Babbitt found new ways to impact the community through philanthropy. He has supported many Christian missions and has been a driving force to establish churches internationally, demonstrating his continued commitment to improve the lives of others.

"Based on my experience working with him off and on over 30 years, Jack Babbitt, Jr. is the consummate professional who was eager to allow young engineers to perform and achieve results uncommon in the Engineering & Construction Industry."

~Steve Savage (BSChE ‘66), Manager of SAS Consultants, LLC