S. R. Cho (M.A.S. CHE ’66)

S. R. Cho, an Illinois Institute of Technology Trustee Emeritus who was recognized in South Korea as an international business icon, died in March 2024 at the age of 89. Cho was honorary chairman of the influential Hyosung Group, a South Korea-based industrial conglomerate that contributed greatly to the growth of the country’s chemical industry. Cho joined Hyosung in 1966 to assist his father, Cho Hong-je, the company’s founder. After inheriting his father’s position as the Hyosung chairman in 1982, he led the company until 2017. In the early 1990s he directed the company to develop technologies to produce spandex, allowing Hyosung to dominate the global spandex market. According to The Korea Times, Cho was credited with first proposing the necessity of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement and improved bilateral economic relationships with Japan. Cho was elected to the Illinois Tech Board of Trustees in May 1996 and transitioned to Trustee Emeritus in 2007. He was a member of the Armour Society, and the recipient of Illinois Tech’s Distinguished Alumni Award and the International Award of Merit. He also established the S. R. Cho Fellowship Endowment for international graduate students in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and the Hyosung S. R. Cho Endowed Chair in Engineering to recognize those dedicated to innovative research through significant contributions beyond the classroom and laboratory.

Edward “Ned” F. Masters (LAW ’72)

A long-time champion of Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law who went on to become a state’s attorney and the chief judge of Will County, Illinois, Edward “Ned” F. Masters died at home on December 14, 2023, at the age of 77. He established the Masters Family Endowment in 2000 to support externships for students studying labor and employment law, an area in which both his daughter and son practiced. To date, more than 100 such externships have been awarded through the Martin H. Malin Institute for Law and the Workplace. Following his retirement from the bench, Masters went into private practice in Will County. In 2005 Masters received a Distinguished Service Award from Chicago-Kent; he also served on the college’s Board of Advisors from 2004–2018. He will be honored posthumously with the Lifetime Achievement Award in September 2024.

Richard J. Nogaj (CE ’60, M.S. ’63)

Richard J. Nogaj, who founded RJN Group, a civil and environmental engineering firm, and later founded several philanthropic nonprofits in Illinois and Florida, died on December 22, 2023, at the age of 85. Nogaj held two patents for municipal wastewater treatment systems, and in 1978 he created CASS WORKS, a maintenance management software program used for municipal water infrastructure systems. He later sold his firm to his employees via a stock ownership plan in 1995. He founded the RJN Foundation, which donated nearly $1 million to local, national, and international not-for-profit organizations, including 159 civil and environmental engineering scholarships. He and his wife, Florence Nogaj, founded several other nonprofits, including the DuPage Habitat for Humanity in Wheaton, Illinois, and the Harvest for Humanity and Jubilation Development Corporation in Immokalee, Florida, which sponsored affordable home ownership for 89 families. Nogaj spoke at numerous events and forums on the topics of affordable workforce housing, immigration reform, and the fair food movement.

Robert W. Porter

Robert W. Porter, who taught high-speed and compressible flows as a professor in Illinois Institute of Technology’s Armour College of Engineering, passed away on January 14, 2023, at the age of 85. As part of a growing research focus on heat transfer and power transmission, Porter chaired and directed the national American Power Conference at Illinois Tech for many years. He taught at the university for more than 20 years before retiring in 2001.