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Former Lyondell CEO to speak at LU’s commencement

Dan F. Smith – former Chief Executive Officer at Lyondell Chemical Company, a graduate of Lamar University, distinguished alumnus and namesake for the Lamar University Department of Chemical Engineering – will deliver the principal address at Lamar University’s commencement ceremonies May 17 and May 18.
Dan F. Smith
Dan F. Smith

“Dan is universally admired for his leadership and team building. He’s a dynamic individual, highly sought after in industry for his insights and perspectives,” said LU President Ken Evans. “I always look forward to welcoming Dan back to Lamar University. I know he’ll impart wisdom, and his address will be memorable to our graduates.”

Smith, a Port Arthur native, graduated from Lamar University in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering. Participating in one of Lamar University’s first ever co-op programs, Smith started his career in 1968, prior to graduating from Lamar University at ARCO (Atlantic Richfield Company) and continued working for ARCO after obtaining his degree. When Smith’s career was interrupted by the Vietnam War, he enlisted and served in the Air Force. At the end of his service, Smith held numerous positions of increasing responsibility in two ARCO divisions and at its corporate headquarters before becoming a vice president of Lyondell Chemical Co. in 1985. Four years later, he was tapped Lyondell's chief financial officer and executive vice president when the company went public. In 1996 Smith was named president and chief executive officer of Lyondell, one of the world's largest chemical producers. Basell acquired Lyondell in December 2007, and Smith retired.

Before Lyondell was acquired by Basell, it was North America's third largest, independent, publicly traded chemical company and a global leader in the manufacture of chemicals and polymers, the building blocks of countless products used around the world every day. With its headquarters in Houston, Lyondell operated on five continents and employed 11,000 people worldwide.

After a distinguishing career spanning 50 years, Smith is widely recognized as an expert in the chemical engineering field as well as an international businessman with extensive experience at the highest levels.

Smith is presently board chairman of Kraton Polymers, a public company with production facilities in the U.S., Germany, France, The Netherlands, Brazil and Japan. In addition, Smith is Chairman of the Board, Orion Engineered Carbons S.A.;  Chairman of the Board, Axip Energy Services, LP; and Director, Magnolia Oil and Gas Corporation.  Smith is also pursuing an array of investment opportunities and sharing his talent and time with many worthy causes including his alma mater. Smith is a former member of the Board of Trustees of Lamar University and is a member of the College of Engineering Advisory Council at Lamar University.

Smith and his wife, Sandra, reside in Houston.