Sunday, June 28 at 4:00 pm

First Annual William Selke Memorial Lecture

CooneyThe Stockbridge Library is pleased to announce Charles L. Cooney, the Robert T. Haslam (1911) Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will deliver the first annual William Selke Memorial Lecture on Sunday, June 28, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room at the Stockbridge Town Offices, 50 Main Street. Dr. Cooney’s topic will be “Translating Ideas to Impact: An Engineer’s Journey through Life.”


SelkeMartha Selke established the Annual William Selke Memorial Lecture with the Stockbridge Library to honor the memory of her husband, who enjoyed a distinguished career in engineering research and development. William Selke received both undergraduate and graduate degrees from MIT and earned a doctorate in engineering from Yale University. He was on the faculty of Columbia University and later worked for the Dupont Corporation, the Peter J. Schweitzer Corporation (a Lee-based company specializing in the manufacture of specialized technical papers), and Kimberly-Clark, as Vice President of the Corporate Science and Technology Group.


After his retirement, Selke returned to Stockbridge where he was actively engaged in civic life, serving on numerous Town boards and committees as well as the boards of the Stockbridge Library Association (as President), The Laurel Hill Association, The Old Corner House-Stockbridge Historical Society, and The Berkshire Museum. He, like Charles Cooney, was also an overseer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.


This year’s inaugural lecturer, Charles L. Cooney, also began his career as an MIT engineer.  During his talk, Cooney will reflect on his journey in which he has helped build a new industry in biotechnology, summit some of the world’s major mountains, create an innovation center to accelerate commercialization of academic research, and study the lessons learned by Vasco da Gama in the age of discovery.  “As an engineer,” Cooney states, “we build on science to translate ideas to solutions that impact society. This is my journey through uncertain waters to bridge the age of discovery to the age of delivery.”


Cooney’s teaching has focused on bioprocessing, drug development, and technological innovation. As founding faculty director of MIT’s Deshpande Center, he is interested in the process of stimulating technological innovation and translating innovation into new company creation.  A consultant to multiple biotech and pharmaceutical companies, Cooney also sits on the boards of Polypore International, Biocon, Ltd. (India) and multiple private companies (GreenLight Bioscience, Mitra Biotech, Pronutria Biosciences, Boyd Technologies, enEvolv Inc., Levitronix).


In addition to his professional interests, Dr. Cooney is a Trustee Emeriti of Boston Ballet and a board member of MIT’s Community Service Fund. Other interests include rock climbing, skiing, high altitude mountaineering, scuba diving, and antique map collecting.


The lecture is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, please call the Stockbridge Library at (413) 298-5501 or visit


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