Max Madden receives 2018 Alumni Merit Award for MSE

Max Madden receives 2018 Alumni Merit Award for MSE

Max Madden (BSE '62, MSE '63, PHD '65) gives a presentation to students and faculty at a special luncheon Oct. 5.

Homecoming this year was extra special for Max Madden (BSE ‘62, MSE ’63, PHD ’65), who was selected by the College of Engineering as the 2018 Alumni Merit Award winner for MSE. As part of the honor, Madden gave a special luncheon presentation to MSE faculty and students on Friday before accepting the award at an official CoE ceremony that evening in Tishman Hall. 

A self-described “product person,” Madden worked the bulk of his career (1968-1993) in research and development with DuPont in Wilmington, Del., where he helped advance the development of Kevlar coating and oversaw the transition from dry-spinning to wet-spinning, an important step in fiber processing.

During those same years at DuPont, Madden also served as a part-time faculty member at Widener University in Chester, Pa., where he taught two courses in materials science in a BSE program for part-time students. The first course covered the Van Vlack text to develop fundamental materials building blocks and the second course focused on special topics in materials.

From Dupont, Madden went on to become president and CEO of Nye Lubricants in New Bedford, Mass. When Madden came on board in 1994, Nye was a 150-year-old company whoseoriginal products were based on refining special fluids found in the heads of toothed whales. Under Madden’s leadership, the company transitioned to becoming the world leader in the supply of synthetic lubricants and developed a strong growth period which included a significant export business network.

“I enjoyed every minute,” said Madden of both his industry and academic accomplishments, especially his time in Ann Arbor as a graduate student studying under Professor Van Vlack. “There is no way to measure the value of the time you’re spending at this university and the good it’s doing all of you,” Madden told students, “You will wear it well, believe me.”