Dorab N. Baria was an active educator for over 25 years. He received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Northwestern University in 1971. He worked for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission at the Ames Laboratory, Iowa State University, as a research fellow for 15 months. Dr. Baria was a faculty member in the chemical engineering department at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota, from 1973 to 1985. Dr. Baria joined the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1985 and played a major role in developing the chemical engineering program and getting it accredited.
Dr. Baria's career was one of broadly distinguished performance over many years with significant highlights within many areas. Both his teaching and advising activities went well beyond a formal curriculum, making him accessible and utilized by his students. Building on a sound platform of research within his areas of specialty, Dr. Baria understood academic program development and he provided educational leadership. The Department of Chemical Engineering at UMD is testimony to his outstanding contributions to undergraduate education.
"I had always wanted to become an engineer ever since I can remember as a child. Growing up in Bombay, India, I wanted to be a steam locomotive engineer or an electric train engineer. I was in love with trains then, and I am in love with them even today. There was nothing about railroading I would not read or observe, and I absorbed it all. Railroads, or railways, as we are apt to call them in India, fascinated me. As I was going through the school system, I learned that being a locomotive engineer would not realize my full potential. I also learned from my dad, who is a civil engineer, what engineering really meant, and he suggested that if I still liked railways that much, I should think about becoming a civil engineer and then specialize as a railway engineer and work for the railways. I seriously considered that option. In the seventh grade (our system had 1 through 11 grades), I got my first taste of chemistry. The science teacher introduced the students to chemistry in a dazzling way. He put on a show of fire, smoke, explosions, and what not. It got me hooked on to chemistry for life. I now had a crisis at the time of graduation from high school. Should I become a chemical engineer or railway engineer? My heart said I should become a railway engineer, but my head said I should become a chemical engineer. I became a chemical engineer (although in my heart I would have loved to have become a railway engineer)."
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