In Memoriam: Dr. Robert D. Lynch

Dean Robert D. Lynch
Dean Robert D. Lynch

The Villanova University community mourns the loss of former College of Engineering Dean Robert D. Lynch ’53 CE, PhD, who died on August 2, 2017. He was 87.

Dean Lynch’s education and academic career began at Villanova. He graduated from the University’s Naval ROTC program in 1953 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, after which he received his master’s from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctoral degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Lynch began his career in the U.S. Navy as an engineering officer, serving on an anti-submarine destroyer with the Atlantic Fleet. After military service, he worked as a structural engineer with Blauvelt Engineering Co., and as a senior structural engineer with McCormick, Taylor and Associates Inc. In 1962 he joined Villanova’s Civil Engineering department as a faculty member. During that time, he wrote a successful proposal for the Environmental Impact Study of the Mid-County Expressway (the Blue Route), and served as a consultant on the computerized structural analysis of the 21-story Federal Office Building in Philadelphia. In 1973, he served as a visiting research professor in the civil engineering department at Notre Dame.

In 1975, Dr. Lynch was named dean of Villanova’s College of Engineering, serving until his retirement in 2001. He was the longest-serving dean in the College’s history.

During Dr. Lynch’s tenure, the College grew significantly in size and quality, culminating in the construction of the flagship research and instructional facility, the Center for Engineering Education and Research. Dr. Lynch also was an early advocate for the expanded use of computer technology in the classroom and laid the foundation for the College’s highly regarded distance learning program for engineering graduate studies.

The recipient of numerous honors and awards, Dr. Lynch received the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for distinguished undergraduate teaching, and the William E. Farrell Award from Villanova’s Engineering Joint Council. He also received the Faculty Award from Villanova’s chapter of the Phi Kappa Pi engineering fraternity, and was awarded a National Science Foundation Faculty Fellowship. He was a member of several societies including: Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honor Society; Chi Epsilon, the National Civil Engineering Honor Society; and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society of North America.

Despite his many administrative responsibilities, Dr. Lynch was known for his tireless commitment to students. Drosdick Endowed Dean Gary A. Gabriele says, “Bob will be remembered for his dedication and mentorship of countless engineering students, as well as his emphasis on excellence in teaching.” Because of his commitment to undergraduate education, the Robert D. Lynch Award was created in 2003 and is awarded annually to an outstanding graduating senior engineering student.

Those interested in honoring Dean Lynch are encouraged to make an offering in his name to ADROP (Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor), 2130 S. 21st St. Philadelphia, Pa. 19145.

Reflections from alumni, faculty and friends.