Alfred Center

Professor of Practice
Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering


Al Center is the first Professor of Practice in the Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He is also an Executive Consultant with Pathfinder LLC in areas of project management.

After graduation from Cornell, Al worked principally in the downstream area of the hydrocarbons industry mostly with Caltex Petroleum Corporation in both overseas and domestic positions dealing with technology and technology management. He retired from Caltex at the end of 1998 after a number of years as the Manager of Engineering and Construction at Caltex.

As a Professor of Practice academic duties include:

  • Teaching Senior and M.Eng level courses that transition the students from Engineering Science to Engineering Practice
  • Sponsoring Masters of Engineering projects in the area of process development and process improvement

Research Interests

Teaching Interests

Engineering application courses including Plant Design, Hydrocarbon Resources, Principles of Project Management, Sponsor of numerous Masters of Engineering projects in the area of process design.


Selected Awards and Honors

  • Professional Engineer(State of New Jersey)1985
  • Raymond G. Thorpe Lecturer(Cornell University, School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering)2011
  • Erskine Fellow(University of Canterbury)2011, 2013
  • Professor who most significantly contributed to college experience(Merrill Presidential Scholar)2005


  • B.S. (Chemical Engineering), Cornell University, 1965
  • M.Eng. (Chemical Engineering), Cornell University, 1966
  • Management Program for Executives(Business Adminstration), University of Pittsburgh, 1979