Joe D. Ligon Endowed Scholarship in Engineering

Aug 31, 2004 | Scholarships

This scholarship was endowed by Merichem Company in gratitude for the dedication and leadership of Mr. Joe D. Ligon, former president and retired member of the Merichem board of directors, who served Merichem for 52 years and died May 1, 2009.

Joe was born Nov. 29, 1929, in Amarillo, Texas. During the depression his family moved to San Antonio, where Joe attended Thomas Jefferson High School. He went on to graduate with a BS degree in chemical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin in 1951. He was the top graduate of his chemical engineering class and was a member of the National Honor Society, Tau Beta Pi, and Omega Chi Epsilon.

Joe Ligon, left, John T. Files, Right, in 1981, celebrating Joe’s 30 year anniversary with Merichem.

Merichem’s founder and owner, John T. Files, also a UT Engineering alumnus, recognized Joe’s engineering talent early on and hired him as director of laboratories and plant engineer. Joe was subsequently promoted to plant manager and then on to executive leadership as vice president, executive vice president, and, in 1976, president and chief operating officer. Joe was elected to the first board of directors of Merichem on Jan. 1, 1966. After retiring as president and CEO in 1990, he continued to serve on the board until Dec. 31, 2003.

Joe married Phyllis Shaner and they had two children, Kyle and Kimberly. Joe enjoyed tennis, golf, flying small planes, boating, water skiing, and attending UT football games. But, most of all, he enjoyed helping UT’s Cockrell School of Engineering.

He was an active and involved supporter of The University of Texas, the Cockrell School, and the Department of Chemical Engineering. He served on the Advisory Council of the College of Natural Sciences, and in 1992 was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the Cockrell School. Joe encouraged qualified students to pursue an education in chemical engineering, and Merichem is pleased to further that goal with the establishment of the Joe D. Ligon Endowed Scholarship in Engineering.

Founded in 1945, Merichem Company, headquartered in Houston, is a global partner serving the oil and gas industries with focused technology, chemical, and service solutions. Merichem provides the oil and gas industry with critical proprietary impurity removal processes to increase the quality of refinery products and gas streams.


The Joe D. Ligon Endowed Scholarship in Engineering was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System on August 31, 2004, for the benefit of the Cockrell School of Engineering. Gift funds were provided by the Merichem Company of Houston, Texas. The endowment honors Mr. Joe D. Ligon, P.E. of Austin, Texas, a 1951 graduate of The University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering.

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