Alumni Hall of Fame

Matthew A. Hunter
Matthew A. Hunter
Fall 2009

Matthew A. Hunter

Class of 1949 (Hon.)
Titanium Pioneer, Metallurgist
1878-1961

Matthew Hunter’s pioneering work with titanium metal and with other light metals greatly advanced the field of metallurgy and contributed significantly to the national economy and national defense. He began his work with titanium while employed at the research laboratories of General Electric Co., but had already joined the faculty at Rensselaer when he made his greatest discovery.

In 1910, Hunter produced titanium as a pure elemental metal for the first time in a method that became known as the Hunter Process. He discovered in titanium a variety of desirable properties that have made it the metal of choice in many industries, including aerospace, architecture, sporting equipment, military hardware, medical implants, and more.

At Rensselaer, he built a strong reputation in welding technology, made major contributions to the research program and graduate school, and established the Department of Materials Engineering. As dean of the faculty, Hunter built Rensselaer’s academic reputation during a period of dramatic growth following World War II.