William P. Madar, Jr.

For his outstanding career as a technical and entrepreneurial leader in the petroleum industry and in a high-technology application-systems business, the Schools of Engineering are proud to present the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award to William P. Madar, Jr.

President and Chief Executive Officer
Nordson Corporation
BSChE '61

President of the Student Union while at Purdue, Mr. Madar joined General Motors' Delco Remy Division as an engineering trainee after earning his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 1961. He enrolled in Stanford's MBA program in 1963, graduating in 1965 and joining the Standard Oil Company (Sohio), now BP America, as a senior project analyst in the Chemicals and Plastics Department.

In his 20 years with Sohio, Mr. Madar served in a variety of management positions, overseeing the internationalization of the Sohio supply system during the oil embargo of the 1970s. In 1985 he was named Executive Vice President of Sohio, responsible for Chemicals and Industrial Products, Corporate Human Resources, and Public and Community Affairs.

The next year Mr. Madar became President and Chief Executive Officer of Nordson Corporation, which develops and markets high-technology equipment and systems for applying coatings, adhesives, and sealants during manufacturing processes.

  • "The education I received at Purdue was rigorous-very rigorous and fast-paced. Quite frankly, it was some of the hardest work I have ever done, and that includes my work for the MBA."

  • "The learning environment was competitive, but classmates were supportive of each other. You were competing against yourself and against the faculty. The instruction was open-ended in the sense of encouraging students to reach out for answers rather than converge on one answer."

Advice to students:

"A good engineer must have a constant curiosity, a dissatisfaction with the way things are, and a vision of how they might be better. The rest is worrying about how to fill in the path to making things better."