Professor emeritus honored by International Society of Automation

Leo D. Durbin, professor emeritus in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been named recipient of the Donald P. Eckman Education Award by the International Society of Automation (ISA).Photo of Leo Durbin

Durbin is receiving the prestigious award for his outstanding contributions to education and training in the science, engineering and technology of instrumentation, systems, and automation. He is scheduled to be formally honored Oct. 17 during the ISA Honors and Awards Gala at the Renaissance Battle House Hotel & Spa in Mobile, Ala.

The award, which is a memorial to Donald P. Eckman, formerly of Case-Western Reserve University, recognizes exemplary efforts and achievements to encourage and support student activity and to mentor students.

“I’m extremely honored to receive this award, which is named for the pioneer in presenting basic process control principles,” Durbin said.

Durbin received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Texas A&I University, Kingsville and a doctorate in chemical engineering from Rice University.

He taught undergraduate theory courses in process dynamics and control for 38 years beginning in 1961. During that time, Durbin built and maintained a process control lab for undergraduate students in the department. This lab was an undertaking that started with pneumatic instruments, proceeding with electronics and finally PC-based control. He also supervised graduate students and authored and co-authored many papers in these areas.

During his tenure at Texas A&M, Durbin served as program chairman and chairman of the Texas A&M Instrumentation Symposium for the Process Industries. He also edited and co-edited “Proceedings” for the symposium, which serves as a library of educational and historical information for the field of instrumentation in the process industries. The first symposium was held in 1946.

Durbin, a life senior member of ISA, served as associate director, director elect and director of the ISA Automatic Control Systems (ACOS) Division. As the ACOS delegate, he spearheaded ISA contributions to the American Automatic Control Conference. Serving as ISA vice president for the education department, Durbin promoted significant achievements with respect to a career film and brochure, curriculum guides, Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology membership, interactive video disc development and training programs.

ISA's Honors & Awards Gala, in its 49th year, is an annual event honoring individuals for the contributions to and advancement of automation across all industries. Last year's gala was attended by more than 400 guests from around the world.

Founded in 1945, ISA is a leading, global, nonprofit organization that is helping more than 30,000 worldwide members and other professionals solve difficult technical problems while enhancing their leadership and personal career capabilities. Based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., ISA develops standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; and hosts conferences and exhibitions for automation professionals. ISA is the founding sponsor of the Automation Federation.