Warren H. Stevenson
Presented by BOB HANNEMANN
at Rotary Club on March 4, 2014
Warren Howard Stevenson died March 25 in Punta Gorda, FL. He was longtime member of Lafayette Rotary until his 2003 retirement as Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Assoc. Dean for Research and Graduate Programs for Purdue's College of Engineering. When he and wife Judy became Punta Gorda residents, he transferred membership to that Club, but they still spent summers in Lafayette where Warren was a "consistent visitor" in our Club and continued helping with the Backpack Program.
Warren was born on November 18, 1938 in Rock Island, IL. He grew up in the small central IL town of Stanford, cherishing its contributions to his life philosophies and droll humor. He completed his BS in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue in 1960 and accepted a job in the aerospace industry. However, he soon returned for graduate work, completing his PhD in 1965 before joining the ME faculty. He taught and conducted research in advanced optical instrumentation and measurement techniques. He won numerous professional awards including being elected Fellow of the Laser Institute of America and served as its president in 1989.
Warren held several administrative positions at Purdue including Interim Head of Mechanical Engineering during one academic year. For his last several years of tenure he was an Assoc. Dean in the College of Engineering. It is in that capacity that he and I became well acquainted after I joined the College as Assoc. Dean for Academic Affairs in 1994. One of his proudest achievements as Assoc. Dean under Richard Schwartz was completing a comprehensive long-range facilities plan for the College. During the past 10 years, the bulk of its proposed expansion has been realized; it now provides major benefits to the College.
Passions in Warren's life were his family, his students, church, service to community, and sailing. He served as Commodore at the Lafayette Sailing Club and taught sailing. A unique "gift" Warren and Judy gave to each of their seven grandchildren was to travel with them on an international excursion during the summer following their 13th birthday. During the Celebration of Warren's Life held June 10 at Federated Church of West Lafayette, each grandchild related the impacts their personal trip had made in their lives.
In addition to Judy, survivors include their daughter Kathy Thomas of Farmland, IN; son Kevin of Loomis, CA; son Kent of Coon Rapids, MN; and seven grandchildren. Arrangements were with the National Cremation Society of Port Charlotte, FL. Memorial donations may be made to the Warren and Judy Stevenson Graduate Scholarship in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University.