The Baltimore Sun

NORMAN HACKERMAN, 95 Chemist, university president

Baltimore native Norman Hackerman, a noted chemist and a former president of both the University of Texas at Austin and Rice University, died June 16 in Temple, Texas. The cause was heart failure, his son, Stephen, said.

Born on March 2, 1912, Dr. Hackerman was the only son of Jacob and Ann Raffel Hackerman, immigrants from what are now Estonia and Latvia, respectively. His father was a tailor. Dr. Hackerman earned his bachelor's degree from the Johns Hopkins University in 1932 and a doctorate there three years later.

In the 1960s, Dr. Hackerman focused his research on metal corrosion, particularly on the electrochemistry of oxidation and on processes that prevent or slow corrosion.

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him to the National Science Board, which helps devise research and education programs for the National Science Foundation; he was chairman of the board from 1974 to 1980.

Dr. Hackerman was president of the University of Texas at Austin from 1967 to 1970 and of Rice, which is in Houston, from 1970 to 1985. After his tenure at Rice, he returned to the University of Texas and taught chemistry until last month.

President Bill Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Science in 1993.

After working on the Manhattan Project, Mr. Hackerman was hired as an assistant professor at the University of Texas. By 1966, he was the vice chancellor at the University of Texas. That year, he reversed a controversial ruling by a dean who had barred a grand dragon of the Texas Ku Klux Klan from speaking on campus.

Copyright © 2021, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad