"View from 100" Looks Fine to ChE Centenarian-to-Be
New York--Only one person in 10,000 reaches the age of 100 in the U.S. Even fewer get to write about the experience.
On March 28 of this year, Chaplin Tyler, a chemical engineer and Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) whose diverse career has included authoring textbooks and serving as an economic and management consultant to the late Coca-Cola CEO Roberto Goizueta, joins the first group when he turns 100. And, by that time, he hopes to have completed The View From 100, a "how-to" book that, in Tyler's words, "endeavors to help people live the long and satisfying lives to which most aspire and so richly deserve."
The View from 100 was written for one reason: to paint a realistic picture of life at the century mark by one who is living that life. Targeting the young as well as the old, the book covers such basics as saving for retirement, cultivating lifelong hobbies and interests that can occupy time and energy after retirement, and anticipating disability "with consequent change in living mode, such as residence in a continuing care community." Tyler noted in a recent interview that making such a move has directly contributed to his longevity-twice doctors at the Hockessin, Delaware, facility where he lives have uncovered life-threatening diseases before they reached the critical stage.
Lastly, the book "recounts the reflections of a centenarian, who in perspective, lives and thinks in a different world," Tyler writes. "You become a miser of time; your entire life's memory passes in panoramic review; you wonder about the great mysteries of the universe; and you cease to fear death, looking upon it as just another phase of life."
Capping an eclectic career
If The View from 100 reaches print-Tyler is currently seeking a publisher-it will be a fitting cap to a long and diverse career. Born and raised in Washington, DC, educated at Northeastern University, Boston University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his first professional post was as a research associate with MIT's Industrial Cooperation and Research Unit. In the course of his work there, Tyler published a number of research papers, and "my supervisor noted that I had a flair for writing." Soon, McGraw-Hill offered him an editorial assistant position with Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering Magazine (now Chemical Engineering). He started working there in December, 1924, and two years later, authored Chemical Engineering Economics, the first in a series of texts from McGraw-Hill that helped define the fundamentals and practices of the still relatively young profession of chemical engineering. Chemical Engineering Economics went through 4 editions over the next 40 years. Within a year of the book's publication, his boss got a call from DuPont asking for permission to speak to Tyler about a job. Six months later, he was a part of DuPont's research staff, and he remained with that company until his first retirement in 1962. For his last 10 years with the company, he served as an advisor to DuPont's president and Executive Committee.
Starting over at 65
Tyler didn't stay retired very long. In 1963, at the age of 65, he launched his own consulting business, where his chief client for the next 17 years would be Coca-Cola. Tyler served as an advisor on a number of economic and management issues to Roberto Goizueta, who, until he passed away last year, was chief executive officer of Coca-Cola, and also a chemical engineer by training.
As Tyler sees it, that shared background is more than just coincidence. Noting that not only Goizueta, but also Jack Welch and John Reed-CEO of General Electric and Citicorp, respectively-are all chemical engineers, he observes, "when I went to college in 1915, there was a terrific argument for liberal arts as a preparation for any career. Now, I think chemical engineering comes about as close as anything to being a successor to that old liberal arts ideal. It teaches you proper thinking methods, which can help you succeed in any field."
During this period, Tyler also co-wrote with Edwin A. Gee, a vice president of DuPont, Managing Innovation which was published by John Wiley in 1976. And, in 1996, at the age of 98, the University of Delaware Press released his third book, Building for Success, which was aimed at what he calls "middlers," those aged 23 to 42 who are somewhere between entry-level and middle-management positions
A life lived generously
As the first century of Tyler's life comes to a close, he can truly look back on an outstanding series of professional and personal achievements. He was named a "Modern Pioneer" by the National Association of Manufacturers in 1940, and received an honorary doctorate in chemical engineering from Northeastern University in 1961.
A hallmark of his career has been generosity, of both his time and expertise, and of the considerable personal fortune he has been able to accumulate. He has contributed more than $3 million dollars to the University of Delaware, including a recent $1 million donation to the school's College of Business and Economics, which will be used to enhance programs designed to provide hands-on experience to business students.
Tyler now lives in a retirement community of some 400-plus individuals, with his second wife, Elizabeth. His first wife passed away after 62 years of marriage, and he remarried in 1991 at the age of 92. All together, they have 16 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
Looking back, Tyler acknowledged in an interview in the University of Delaware Messenger, "I've had a crazy quilt of a life...but, I always want to be doing something to justify my existence, and to share with others the good fortune that has been bestowed on me.
NOTE TO EDITORS/REPORTERS:
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