Rice alumna Martiel A. Luther ‘78 receives Distinguished Service Medal

Chemical engineer recognized for her professional accomplishments and service to Rice Engineering.

Martiel Luther headshot

The George R. Brown School of Engineering and the Rice Engineering Alumni (REA) board recently announced Martiel A. Luther as the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Service Medal. The Distinguished Service Medal, established in 2012, is one of the engineering Alumni Awards that honors alumni for their outstanding achievements and service in the engineering profession. Luther has demonstrated visionary leadership and dedication both in her 35-year career in the energy industry and in her service to the School of Engineering. 

Luther graduated from Rice in 1978 with a B.S. in chemical engineering. She also earned her M.S. in chemical engineering practice from MIT and an MBA from Tulane University. Her 35-year career in the energy industry, primarily with Shell Oil Co., focused on technical and project management roles that took her worldwide, including a stint shaping their sustainability strategy. Throughout her career and into retirement, Luther has remained committed to supporting Rice engineering students and the institution as a whole.   

Supporting student achievement has always been a priority for Luther, as is evident through her gifts of sponsorship and time. She has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK), Rice Engineering’s hub for undergraduate engineering innovation. While at Shell, she introduced the company as a corporate sponsor for design projects. On her retirement, she became a sponsor through the Martiel Luther Endowment for Practice of Engineering, funding selected OEDK design projects as an individual. Luther also established The Martiel A. Luther Endowment for K-12 STEM Outreach, which funds K-12 initiatives in the community and provides opportunities to grade school students. Additionally, she mentors students in the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership and has served on the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) Alumni Advisory Committee, which provides student mentoring and alumni networking opportunities in order to prepare ChBE students for life beyond Rice.

Luther has shown her dedication to the institution as a whole by supporting the Ralph S. O’Connor Building for Engineering and Science, the new landmark building in the engineering quad whose 250,000 square feet are designed to maximize research space and foster interaction. Her other Rice passions include being a Jones College Community Associate and a former Friends of Fondren Library board member. 

The Distinguished Service Medal reflects a deep commitment to the Rice Engineering community, which Luther exhibits through her gifts of leadership, time and means. Luther and the other 2023 alumni award recipients will be honored at the 2024 George R. Brown School of Engineering Alumni Awards Celebration.