Robert Squires

2012 Co-Op Hall of Fame Inductee  

Robert Squires

Co-Op Coordinator

Robert Squires (B.S.Ch.E. ‘57 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, M.S.E. ‘58, M.S. Math. ‘60, PhD. ‘63, all from the University of Michigan) had studied catalysis under a pioneer scientist of those days, Giuseppe Parravano, who had previously worked in Italy as an assistant to Giulio Natta (Nobel laureate,1963). Shortly after his arrival in 1962, Squires established an ambitious program in catalysis, working initially with IR spectroscopy and then with other 
spectroscopic techniques. In the 1970’s along with W.N. Delgass he established the catalysis research program of the School which is still a major component of the School‘s research portfolio.

For years, Squires and his wife Carol invited students over to their house, conveniently located within walking distance on Salisbury Street, for informal evening chats with snacks. Other than the Catalyst Club, this was the only informal opportunity many students had to know a professor as a person. Squires received almost every important local and national teaching award, including the prestigious 1981 Amoco Foundation Award, now the Murphy award. Squires was the first ChE faculty member to win this award, which recognizes the best University teachers. He won the Shreve prize as the best teacher in ChE six times (1976,1981, 1987, 1990,1992, and 1996) and the Potter award as the best teacher in Engineering twice (1977 and 1991).Nationally, Bob won the ASEE Western Electric Award in 1977 and the Chemical Manufacturers Association Catalyst Award in 1985. In the 1980‘s and 1990‘s Squires became interested in developing videos that allowed students to do experiments virtually that were impossible to do in the unit operations laboratory. 

Squires‘ interest in students led him to accept the position as the coordinator of the chemical engineering Cooperative Engineering Education Program in 1982 when Houze stepped down. Bob was dedicated to the Co-Op program and would regularly travel to employer sites to check in with students and tour the facilities. Bob tirelessly promoted the program to employers when they were visiting campus and would always arrange a special table during Co-Op Days so he could sit with the chemical engineering employers. Bob administered the program through several economic downturns that resulted in significant decreases in student participation and he promoted the program when employer and student interest began to shift to summer internships. Co-Op students who participated during his tenure remember him fondly. Bob served as the chemical engineering Co-Op Coordinator from 1982 -2004, when he retired.

Squires was heavily involved in many national societies, including the Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society, which he served as Chairman* in 1980, and he was elected a Councilor of ACS.

At the time Bob retired in December 2004, he held the record (42 years) for longevity on the faculty (in 2011 tied with Bob Hannemann and Neal Houze).

*Squires was the fourth Purdue ChE faculty member who became Chairman of the I&EC Division of ACS. Previously, R.N. Shreve (1943), J.H. Rushton (1953) and E.W. Comings (1956) had served in the same position.

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