When Frank Pavlis graduated from Michigan Tech in 1938, the Pavlis Honors College benefactor was the first in his family to graduate from college. He graduated at the top of his class with a BS in Chemical Engineering. After graduating from Michigan Tech, Pavlis earned an MS in chemical engineering from University of Michigan and later completed Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.
After turning down a job with Shell Oil, he became the first employee at Air Products, then a small new company in Detroit. There, he was paid $3 a day as chief engineer and helped design an affordable oxygen generator, which became the foundation of the company’s product line. After nearly 20 years of struggling, business took off; it was listed on the NYSE in 1961. Now, the company employs nearly 20,000 workers around the globe and tops $7 billion in annual sales.
During his 40 years with the company, Pavlis rose through the ranks, joining the Board of Directors in 1952 and serving as vice president for engineering and finance before retiring in 1980 as vice president for international/world trade.
A longtime supporter of the University, he is a member of Michigan Tech’s McNair and Hubbell Societies. Pavlis’s gift to the University builds on his commitment to providing students with opportunities to develop an intercultural perspective and the skill set necessary to be competitive in a global marketplace.