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Outstanding Alumni

College of Arts and Sciences

John F. Schabron - 2011 Outstanding Alumnus

Doctor of Philosophy - 1978 - Chemistry (ACS)

Known worldwide for his studies in heavy petroleum, shale oils, and coal liquids, John Schabron’s enthusiasm for research and professional projects is the cornerstone of his success. Schabron is a principal scientist at the Western Research Institute (WRI) in Laramie. WRI is a multi-million dollar not-for-profit research organization renowned for work in advanced energy systems, environmental technologies, and highway materials research.

When Schabron joined WRI in 1984, he set up a new analytical support division with fossil fuels environment, waste, and drinking water analysis capabilities, including organic, inorganic, and physical testing. Schabron also implemented a new computerized sample tracking system and quality control guidelines. “John Schabron has maintained fundamental research activities at the frontiers of fuels science,” says Michael Siskin, ExxonMobil senior scientific advisor. “He is a diligent, thorough, and accurate researcher. His studies on fossil fuel characterization, upgrading, compatibility and coking mechanisms have earned him international recognition in the petroleum and fuels science.”

In 2004, Schabron was appointed to the editorial board of the new Taylor and Francis Encyclopedia of Petroleum and Refining Science. He has received several awards, including the American Chemical Society Industrial Innovation Award in 2001 and in 2007. He also has 11 U.S. Patents with five pending.

In addition to his research at WRI, Schabron contributes some of his time and effort to benefit the heavy oil science community. He has organized and chaired many symposia at national and international conferences, and he has led development efforts for new patents and ASTM methods and devices for field screening and sampling for environmental monitoring. “All of these various projects have addressed cutting-edge issues of significant relevance to industry or government agencies,” explains Schabron.

Schabron has worked tirelessly to encourage the Wyoming Department of Transportation and Wyoming State Legislature to widen highway 287 between Laramie and the Colorado border. In April 2009, WyDOT began construction of the first segment. “This was the most dangerous section,” notes Schabron, “and I have heard many comments from people who have driven on it during snowstorms and now feel much safer on that section than they do on the rest of the highway.”

Schabron received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Regis University in 1972 and a master’s degree in physical organic chemistry from Creighton University in 1975. At UW, he earned a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry. Schabron and his wife, Joan, have been married for nearly 40 years. They are the parents of eight children.

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