Born 1871, Died 1961
Eugene Schoch was born to American parents in Berlin in 1871, and moved to Texas in the early 1880s. He grew up on a farm near Floresville, Texas, and entered the University as an undergraduate shortly after it opened. He graduated with a degree in civil engineering in 1894, and spent a period as a surveyor in San Antonio. He returned to Austin and received a Master's degree in chemistry in 1896. He served as an instructor in the Chemistry Department thereafter, spending his summers pursuing a PhD at the University of Chicago. At Chicago he studied under Julius Stieglitz, and his dissertation, The Red and Yellow Mercuric Oxy-Chlorides, was accepted in 1902.
Schoch was a member of the UT faculty for 65 years. He was the founding father of the discipline of chemical engineering at UT, and advocated vigorously for its recognition as a separate department, which occurred in 1938. He organized the Bureau of Industrial Chemistry in 1927, and served as its director for 25 years. His interest in Industrial Chemistry (later known as chemical engineering) followed earlier contributions to the study of theoretical chemistry, for which he was known worldwide. Schoch was also a beloved campus figure and popular teacher. He organized the University Orchestra, and later founded the Longhorn Band. He was director of them both for many years.
As one of the early founders of the School of Chemistry, Schoch allied himself with Bailey and Harper to demand adequate time for research and publication. In those days, pure research was widely dismissed as a frivolous activity that interfered with teaching. He devoted much of his research career to the betterment of Texas' natural resource consumption and conservation. A true pioneer in industrial chemistry, Schoch worked in such disparate areas as water treatment, natural gas and methane conversion, mineral resources, and oilfield development. He sought fundamental principles that could be applied to industrial processes and economic benefit.
Eugene Schoch was one of the most important figures in the history of the University of Texas. He remained actively involved in university life until his death at the age of 89 in 1961. The then-Chemical Engineering Building was named in his honor in 1969.
See also Rase, Howard F. and William A. Cunningham, Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas 1910-1990. (Dept. of Chemical Engineering, University of Texas, 1990.) pp.15-16.