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Historical Honors Award Recipient

Fred C. Koch

1992
Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, World-renowned Chemical Engineer
Photo of Recipient

The son of a Dutch immigrant, Fred C. Koch was born in 1900 in Quanah, Texas. He attended Rice Institute in Houston from 1917 to 1919, and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1922, where he obtained a degree in Chemical Engineering Practice.

Koch started his career with the Texas Company in Port Arthur, Texas, and later became chief engineer with the Medway Oil & Storage Company on the Isle of Grain in Kent, England. In 1925 he joined a fellow MIT classmate at Keith-Winkler Engineering in Wichita, Kansas. The firm was later renamed Winkler-Koch Engineering Company. Koch joined new partners in 1940 to create the Wood River Oil and Refining Company, which is today known as Koch Industries, Inc. In 1946, the firm acquired the Rock Island refinery and crude oil gathering system near Duncan, Oklahoma. Wood River was later renamed the Rock Island Oil and Refining Company. In 1966, Mr. Koch turned over day-to-day management of the company to his son, Charles.

Fred C. Koch married Mary Robinson in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1932. They had four sons, Frederick (b. 1933), Charles (b. 1935), David (b. 1940) and William (b. 1940).

Fred Koch belonged to a variety of organizations, including Alpha Kappa Psi and the American Chemical Society, and served as a director of various companies and societies, including the Coleman Company of Wichita and the First National Bank of Wichita, Kansas. His interests included conservation, hunting, philanthropy and traveling.

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