James and Lorna Mack: Supporting the Future of Teaching and Research

James and Lorna MackJames and Lorna Mack help create the future for faculty and students at Michigan Technological University.

Mack said they believe it is important to give back. During his time at Tech he received a scholarship to help pay for his studies.

"Michigan Tech made all the difference in my life and in my career," says Mack, who is also a former Michigan Tech Fund board member. "I benefited from scholarships and know scholarships are important to many students."

The Macks have given many gifts to Michigan Tech including the creation of the James and Lorna Mack Chair in Bioengineering, the Lorna and James Mack Professorship of Continuous Processing, and the James and Lorna Mack Endowed Scholarship.

A native of Mackinaw City, Michigan, Mack says Michigan Tech stopped at their school during his senior year to talk about programs.

"My grandfather was an engineer and encouraged me to study engineering," he recalls.

"I did well in math and chemistry and it seemed a good fit for chemical engineering. For me, there was no better option than Michigan Tech."

Mack earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1959. After graduation, he became a project engineer at Monsanto. He received his MBA from Western New England College. And, he received an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Michigan Tech in 2000.

While at Maumee Chemical (later acquired by Sherwin Williams) in Toledo, Ohio, Mack worked on a novel continuous process from pilot plant to commercial scale. "The training at Michigan Tech helped me both on the technical side and most importantly, on the problem-solving side, and that was essential to success."

Caryn L. Heldt, an associate professor of chemical engineering at Michigan Tech
Caryn L. Heldt, an associate professor of chemical engineering at Michigan Tech, is the James and Lorna Mack Endowed Chair in Bioengineering

He is retired president and chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Cambrex Corporation, a worldwide biotechnology and pharmaceutical company in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Mack helped its gross sales grow from $130 million to $500 million.

Through their gifts, including the chair in bioengineering, Mack said they believe there are opportunities in biotechnology for human health as well as in bioprocessing. "We hope some of the work in the department will involve some out-of-the-box thinking and experimenting."

The Macks have five children and six grandchildren. The couple enjoys playing golf, fly fishing, and traveling.