Daniel Alexander Okun Collection

Daniel Alexander Okun (1917-2007) was born in New York City, the eldest son of Russian Jewish immigrant parents. He received undergraduate engineering training at Cooper Union and CalTech, and after military service during WWII, obtained a Doctor of Science degree in 1948 from Harvard University. Dr. Okun joined the UNC School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering in 1952, and served as Chair of the Department from 1955 to 1973, expanding the faculty from 3 to 25 members, and transforming a traditional sanitary engineering curriculum into an interdisciplinary environmental science and engineering program.

Listing of Books in Collection

During his career, Dr. Okun worked in 89 countries and consulted with municipal and legislative planning committees throughout the United States. His many contributions included designing a water treatment plant in Bangkok, Thailand; establishing a graduate program in sanitary engineering in Lima, Peru; and studying water supply and pollution control in China. He had over 39 awards to his name, including a Fulbright, and was a member of both the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine.

While at UNC-Chapel Hill, his research interests included the development of dual water systems for the purpose of conserving scarce resources of high quality water by reclaiming waste waters and other poor quality waters for myriad non-potable purposes such as irrigation, toilet flushing, cooling towers, and industry. His post-retirement work included the campaign to build Cane Creek Dam and Reservoir in Chapel Hill to ensure the most pristine water source possible for Chapel Hill and the UNC campus.



Last modified: 01/25/21