John L. Anderson was born September 29, 1945, in Wilmington, DE, where he attended Mount Pleasant High School. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware in 1967, and MS and PhD degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1969 and 1971, all in chemical engineering.
He was most recently Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and president (2007–2015) of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). Before that he was provost and executive vice president at Case Western Reserve University (2004–2007), following 28 years at Carnegie Mellon University, including 8 years as dean of the College of Engineering. He began his career as a member of the Cornell University faculty (1971–1976).
Dr. Anderson was elected to the NAE in 1992 for contributions to the understanding of colloidal hydrodynamics and membrane transport phenomena. He was elected an NAE Councillor in 2015 and served on the Executive Compensation Committee and Temporary Nominating Committee on Member Diversity. He has also served on the Membership Policy Committee, Nominating Committee (chair), Chemical Engineering Section (chair, vice chair, section liaison, member), Chemical Engineering Peer Committee (chair), and Committee on Membership (immediate past chair, chair, vice chair, peer committee chair). His service also includes numerous National Academies activities, such as the Committee on Determining Basic Research Needs to Interrupt the Improvised Explosive Device Delivery Chain (chair); Committee on Review of Existing and Potential Standoff Explosives Detection Techniques (chair); Organizing Committee for the National Security and Homeland Defense Workshop (co-chair); Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology (co-chair); and Ford Foundation Minority Postdoctoral Review Panel on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering.
In addition to his NAE membership, Dr. Anderson is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was appointed to the National Science Board in 2014 for a six-year term. He received the Acrivos Professional Progress Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and an award from the Pittsburgh Section of AIChE for “Outstanding Professional Accomplishments in the Field of Academics,” and he is listed on the Alumni Wall of Fame at the University of Delaware. In 2012 he received the National Engineering Award from the American Association of Engineering Societies. He has held visiting professorships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation), University of Melbourne (Australia), and Landbouw universiteit Wageningen (the Netherlands). He has presented guest lectures at universities throughout the United States and is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters. He has received honorary doctorates from Case Western Reserve University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Delaware.
Dr. Anderson is married to Patricia Siemen Anderson. They have two children and five grandchildren.