Prof. Joseph P. Kennedy receives 2008 Charles Goodyear Medal Award


Dr. Kennedy's contributions to rubber science and technology are vast, particularly in the fields of carbocationic polymerizations, rubbery biomaterials and macromolecular design and engineering.

Dr. Kennedy received the equivalent of a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Budapest in Hungary in 1948, earned his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Vienna in Austria in 1954, and an MBA from Rutgers University in Newark, NJ, in 1961. He was a postdoc at McGill University and at the Sorbonne.

He started his career in industry as a Research Chemist at Celanese in 1957, and in 1960 moved to Exxon in NJ, rising through the ranks to the highest technical level. Even in industry, he published seminal papers on the mechanism of isobutylene and butyl rubber polymerizations, and isomerization polymerization.

He came to The University of Akron in 1970, playing a fundamental role in the development of the College of Polymer Science & Polymer Engineering. His seminal work had crucial importance in the Department of Polymer Science, ranked as the #2 graduate academic program in Polymer Science in the nation.

Dr. Kennedy authored three books and over 700 refereed publications in top journals. He is a founding co-editor of Polymer Bulletin and serves on numerous editorial boards. He chaired two Gordon Conferences and was chair of the 35th International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry symposium on marcromolecules (MacroAkron) in 1994.

Dr. Kennedy has 97 issued US patents, and is the recipient of many national and international awards, too numerous to mention. Some of his awards include two American Chemical Society Awards, one in Polymer Chemistry (1985) and one in Applied Polymer Science (1995), and the Rubber Division's George S. Whitby Award in 1996 for excellence in teaching and research.

He is the inventor of the FDA approved polystyrene-polyisobutylene-polystyrene triblock, the polymeric coating on the Taxus Drug-Eluting Stent. This TPE rubber revolutionized interventional cardiology, with more than five million such stents implanted. His versatile mechanisms for creating unique telechelic polymers, grafts and star polymers, and amphiphilic networks are most noteworthy. He was the co-founder of Akron Polymer Development Co. to exploit some of his inventions.

Dr. Kennedy has trained more than 150 students and postdoctorals who became successful industrial leaders or professors internationally. His mentorship is unparalleled.

At 79 he is still active, in his office every day inventing/developing new rubbers.