Richard Collin Alkirewas born in Easton, Pennsylvania on April 19, 1941. He received a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Lafayette College in 1963. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering under Charles Tobias at the University of California at Berkeley. He did postdoctoral work under Carl Wagner at the Max Planck Institut fur Physikalische Chemie in Gottingen.
Dr. Alkire joined the University of Illinois in 1969 and was promoted to the rank of Professor in 1977. He served as Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering (1986-94) and as Vice Chancellor for research and Dean of the Graduate College (1994-present). In addition to teaching, he established a research program in electrochemical engineering. He has supervised 75 graduate student theses. His research activities included experimental investigations and mathematical modeling of localized corrosion, metal etching, high speed electrodeposition processes, porous electrodes, electro-organic synthesis, and plasma reactor design. He edited the "Bibliography of Electro-Organic Synthesis 1801-1975" of Professor Sherlock Swann which was published by the Society in 1980. Dr. Alkire authored or co-authored more than 130 technical papers and patents.
Dr. Alkire joined the Society in 1970 and served as Divisional editor for the Industrial Electrolytic Division from 1973-1990. He served as Chairman of the Industrial Electrolytic Division and was Society representative of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He organized many symposia for Society meetings. Dr. Alkire was elected Vice-President of the Society in 1982 and served as President for the term 1985-1986.
Dr. Alkire received The Research Award of the Electrodeposition Division in 1983, the Carl Wagner Award in 1985, he was made an Honorary Member of the Society in 1991, and elected to Fellow of The Electrochemical Society in 1992. He received the Edward Goodrich Acheson Award of the Society in 1996.
Dr. Alkire received the Teaching Excellence Award of the University of Illinois in 1982. He presented the Plenary Lecture at the meeting of the International Society of Electrochemistry In 1984 and 1989. He was an active member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, received the Professional Progress Award of the Institute (1985), and was elected a Director (1989-92). He also received the E. V. Murphee Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry from the American Chemical Society (1991). He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1988. He served as chairman of a National Research Council Committee which studied fuel cell materials technology in vehicular propulsion (1983), and also chaired the NRC committee on "New Horizons in Electrochemical Science and Technology" (1986).