Babatunde A. Ogunnaike, William L. Friend Chair of Chemical Engineering and former dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Delaware, died on February 20. He was 65 years old.
A native of Ijebu-Igbo, Nigeria, and the son of two educators, he excelled in academics, music, and athletics. Dr. Ogunnaike was a former member of the Nigerian national field hockey team.
Ogunnaike was a graduate of the University of Lagos in Nigeria, where he majored in chemical engineering. He came to the United States in 1978 to pursue graduate studies. He earned a master’s degree in statistics and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
After earning his Ph.D., Dr. Ogunnaike worked for Shell Oil in Houston, Texas, for a year, before returning to Nigeria to teach at the University of Lagos from 1982 to 1988. He then moved to Delaware, where he worked as a researcher for DuPont and taught part-time at the University of Delaware. In 2002, he joined the full-time faculty of the University of Delaware’s department of chemical engineering. Dr. Ogunnaike served as interim dean for the College of Engineering from 2011 to 2013 and was dean from 2013 to 2018.
Dr. Ogunnaike was an expert in process control, modeling and simulation, systems biology, and applied statistics. He possessed a robust knowledge of both industrial and academic applications of chemical engineering. Professor Ogunnaike was a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.