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Rededication Celebrates IPST Traditions and Future Outlook at Georgia Tech

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A look into future challenges and opportunities for the forest bioproducts industry sprang from a glance back in time at the 20th anniversary rededication ceremony for the Paper Tricentennial Building at Georgia Tech (Atlanta, Ga., USA) last week. Guest speakers addressed the challenge of building on the legacy of the Institute of Paper Science and Technology (IPST) to prepare for the future.

Pete Correll, former chairman and CEO of Georgia-Pacific and former chairman of the IPST board of trustees, said that "this is where ideas have blossomed into technologies, which have blossomed into alternatives, into viable concepts. May you continue to be that place where things happen."

Carl Landegger, a member of the International Paper Hall of Fame and a former chairman of the IPST board of trustees, who led Parsons & Whittemore and Black Clawson, addressed the future of the forest bioproducts industry by saying, "we'll solve the problem by making new products."

Alumni, former IPST executives such as past president Jim Ferris, and Georgia Tech officials rounded out the guest speaker list. They addressed the history of IPST and its move to Atlanta from Appleton, Wis., in 1989, the long legacy of the Institute of Paper Chemistry (IPC) since its founding in 1929, and its contributions to industry success. IPC became the Institute of Paper Science and Technology upon its move to Atlanta.

Georgia Tech EVP-Research Steve Cross commented that IPST is emblematic of Tech's tri-fold strategy of research, partnership, and impact, a model he hopes to propagate across the campus.

"We are a product of 84 years of heritage, focused today on the forest bioproducts potential in the future," said IPST director Norman Marsolan. "We have produced more than 1,500 graduates with advanced degrees, many of whom are research leaders for pulp and paper and related companies today. Our research programs at IPST are providing a path for the enhancement of pulp and paper production, while setting a course for entirely new products that will meet the demands of future markets."

The rededication featured contrasting presentations by the old and the new. George L. Clarke,'39, the oldest living alumnus, addressed the group by videotape, describing his recruitment to the Institute in 1935 and his impression when he arrived. "They got together the most fantastic group of people I have ever heard of."

American Process Inc. VP Kim Nelson, '07, provided a recent perspective on the IPST program, noting that the Institute is "at the entrepreneurial forefront of the forest bioproducts industry." Georgia Tech School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering chair Ron Rousseau, who twice served as interim IPST director, noted the collegiality and leadership of the Institute over the years.

The five-story Paper Tricentennial Building was constructed and equipped at a cost of $68 million in 1993, complete with 64 laboratories and 68 fume hoods. It also is the home of the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking. The building was jointly funded by the State of Georgia and private industry. IPST currently supports 50 graduate students a year.

IPST research today involves the pulp and paper industry and future developments in sustainable energy (biofuels), sustainable chemicals, advanced packaging, pharmaceuticals, electronics, advanced materials and others. More information is available online.


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