The University of Texas at Tyler has launched a chemical engineering program, thanks to the family owners of a Whitehouse-based company.

UT Tyler will become the only college in northeast Texas that offers the degree. The addition of the Jasper Department of Chemical Engineering also means the college has the only comprehensive school of engineering in the region, also offering mechanical, civil and electrical engineering.

UT Tyler President Michael Tidwell said the Jasper family, owners of Jasper Ventures, was an ideal fit for the program, pointing to its embrace of values such as innovation, integrity and excellence.

“As a leader in the hydrocarbon industry, Jasper Ventures is the perfect partner for us as we build a world-class chemical engineering program,” he said.

University of Texas System Board of Regents Chairman Kevin Eltife said the gift will have a major impact on students’ lives.

“We are incredibly blessed to live in a community with families like the Jaspers, who are willing to give up their time, energy and treasure,” Eltife said.

A gift from Jasper Ventures will help fund the Jasper Endowed Scholarship Fund, the Jasper Endowed Chair in Chemical Engineering, setup of labs and other projects.

Brent Jasper, president of Jasper Ventures, said his family and the company founded by his father, Jon, have dedicated their work to glorifying Jesus.

“The Jasper family is excited that (Jon’s) legacy will also live on at UT Tyler, and with the many students who will earn a degree in this new department,” Jasper said.

Dr. Javier Kypuros, dean of the College of Engineering, said the department is ready to transform from being “the best kept secret in East Texas” to a nationally renowned school of engineering.

“We do not simply train engineers,” he said. “We engineer change agents.”

Kypuros said the new program will help combat a projected shortage of chemical engineers over the next decade.