The Thomas M. Clausi Distinguished Professorship in Chemical Engineering

NC State graduation 1994. Left to right: Karen Clausi (mother), Becky Clausi, Nick Clausi, Gina Braun (sister), Tom Clausi.

The Clausi family at Nick's 1994 graduation from NC State.
Left to right: Karen Clausi (mother), Becky Clausi, Nick Clausi, Gina Braun (sister), Tom Clausi.

Nick Clausi (B.S. ‘94) and his wife Rebecca (B.S. ‘95), have generously initiated the endowment of the Thomas M. Clausi Distinguished Professorship in Chemical Engineering in honor of Nick’s father (B.S. ‘64).

Tom Clausi NC State Graduation 1964
Tom Clausi, NC State Graduation, 1964

Tom Clausi passed away earlier this year at the age of 80, and according to his son, was a loyal member of the Wolfpack his entire life. He grew up in New York and was a first-generation college student. As the story goes, Tom’s dad, Nick’s grandfather, developed a close friendship with Julius Page, whose hometown was Chapel Hill, NC while fighting in Europe during WWII. Julius and his wife never had children so Tom (and later, Nick) grew up knowing him as Uncle Julius. Uncle Julius introduced Tom to NC State and after Tom graduated high school in 1960, he joined the Wolfpack to pursue his degree in Chemical Engineering. After his NC State graduation in 1964, Tom worked in the US and overseas for ICI and PPG.  In 1974, he joined Ciba-Geigy and enjoyed a highly successful career prior to retiring in 2000 as Senior Vice President of Technical Operations in Ciba’s Pharmaceutical Division.

Although he describes his father as a quintessential engineer, methodical and logical, Nick also notes that Tom became close friends with several members of the NC State football team while living in the dorms. The “crew” consisting of Joe Scarpati, Pete Falzarano, Lou DeAngelis, Rosie and Chuck Amato, Ron Skosknik, Tony Koszarsky, and Tom shared a special friendship that has endured for 60 years.  They remained lifelong friends, returning often to enjoy NC State football games together throughout the years.

Karen and Tom Clausi
Karen and Tom Clausi

Similar to his father, Nick and his wife Rebecca have many happy memories of their time at NC State. When asked why they chose a professorship as the way to honor Tom, Nick responded that it is a special way to give back for all of the opportunities that were available to him, his wife, and his father.  The professorship simultaneously leaves a lasting legacy and honors his father’s commitment to education, as well as recognizing the field of chemical engineering and NC State University. The objective of the professorship is to affirm excellence in the faculty and to provide resources to help retain that talent. Nick hopes that the professorship will contribute to maintaining the department’s high status as one of the top chemical engineering departments in the world.

Nick followed in his father’s footsteps, earning a B.S. in chemical engineering from NC State in 1994.  He went on to earn a Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the University of Texas-Austin in 1998 and then joined ExxonMobil as a research engineer at the Baton Rouge Chemical Plant. During his career, he has held marketing, supply chain, research, engineering, and manufacturing positions throughout ExxonMobil’s businesses. More recently, he served as Vice President of Engineering prior to assuming his current position as Vice President of Research.  He is also a current member of the department’s Alumni Advisory Board.

This donation comes as the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering is preparing to celebrate its centennial birthday in 2024. The Clausi family is looking forward to reconnecting with old friends during the department’s Centennial Alumni Weekend. Nick will also share his technological expertise in energy with faculty and students as a speaker in the 2024 CBE Centennial Seminar Series. We are excited to welcome Nick and his wife back to campus next year and to honor his father alongside him with the Thomas M. Clausi Distinguished Professorship in Chemical Engineering!