Distinguished Alumni Awards

Glen W. Wensch

Glen W. Wensch
To Glen W. Wensch, a pioneer in the development of nuclear energy, particularly fast rector technology.

President, G. W. Professional Corporation, Champaign, Illinois; Retired Administrator, U.S. Department of Energy

  • BS, Metallurgical Engineering, 1946
  • MS, Metallurgical Engineering, 1947
  • PhD, Metallurgical Engineering, 1949

Dr. Glen W. Wensch earned the first PhD degree granted by the Department of Metallurgy and Mining Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Early in his career he moved into the nuclear industry, first at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico and later at Savannah River. He then became chief metallurgical engineer at the Vitro Corporation of America, developing fuel elements and control rods for the first breeder reactor in commercial operation. He returned to service with the federal government in 1955 and retired in 1977 as assistant administrator for nuclear energy in the U.S. Department of Energy. In 1978, Dr. Wensch formed a consulting company and has since completed many important studies on energy assessments.

The technical side of Dr. Wensch’s career has been concentrated on the application of materials to structures involved in severe service conditions of high temperature and corrosion. His work has focused mainly on the design of plutonium-fueled reactors, the testing of rector materials, and the development of training programs and international programs for professionals working in the field of nuclear energy.

Over the years Dr. Wensch has maintained a close association with his university and department, serving with several alumni groups. He was honored with the Loyalty and Constituent Leadership awards of the University of Illinois Alumni Association. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Chemists and the American Society of Metals. He is a member of the American Nuclear Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and many other societies and organizations.

Current as of 1986.