C. W. "Bill" Lovell
Presented by TERRY WEST at
the July 30, 2013 Rotary Meeting.
Bill Lovell, Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering, Purdue University passed away at age 90 on June 15, 2013. His area of specialty was geotechnical engineering, which involves construction of engineering structures on or with soil and rock materials. He was a member of several professional organizations, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Transportation Research Board (TRB) and the Indiana Academy of Science He was elected as a Fellow in these societies and received several prestigious awards from them.
Bill was dedicated to teaching and research and served for 45 years in the geotechnical engineering program at Purdue. During this time he supervised 114 graduate students and directed 59 graduate theses. He authored or co-authored 193 publications. His research interests were broad and varied including soft rocks (shale), compaction and compacted properties, soil fabric and pore size distribution, slope stability and erosion, cold weather problems, pavements, and most recently, uses of waste materials in geotechnical engineering. His work on the STABL analysis of soil landslides formed the basis for procedures widely used today for slope stability calculations. Following his mandatory retirement from academic endeavors, Bill Taught the Stephen Covey, 7 habits of Highly Effective People for human resources, to Purdue’s administration personnel, until 2010, when he fully retired from the University.
Bill was born November 17, 1922 in Louisville Kentucky and served in the U.S. Navy Civil Engineering Corps (Seabees) in the South Pacific in World War II. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Louisville in 1944 and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Purdue University in 1951, followed by the Ph.D. degree from Purdue in 1957. Starting in 1948 at Purdue as a graduate assistant, Bill rose through the academic ranks to become a full professor of Civil Engineering in 1974. In 1996 he left Civil Engineering and became a facilitator of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. At the time of his full retirement in 2010, he had been a staff member at Purdue for nearly 63 years.
He was a past district governor of Lions International, a past President of the Lafayette Lions Club, a member of the Board of Directors of the Lafayette Rotary Club, a past president of the Greater Lafayette Civic Theatre, a charter member of Covenant Presbyterian Church, and an elder of the Central Presbyterian Church, Lafayette. He was an avid fisherman and a charter member of the Lafayette Fly Fishers Club. He traveled extensively to professional meetings, on vacations and on fishing trips, particularly with his son, Douglas. He actively supported environmental initiatives, including the Nature Conservancy. He was a generous supporter of charitable organizations and to the Lafayette Rotary Club and Rotary International.
Beginning in 2003, the C.W. Lovell Distinguished Lecture Series was established through a generous contribution by Dr. Lovell to initiate this annual invited lectureship. Distinguished geotechnical engineers, many with international credentials, have given invited lectures at this annual event. The eleventh lectureship was held last October with Bill in attendance. Many of his former students would return to campus for this lecture, conference and banquet. Bill was an extremely well organized individual, rather reserved and not an outspoken individual, but in his quite way accomplished an amazing amount in his role of teacher, researcher and community volunteer.
He is survived by two children, Christine Kemp and Douglas Lovell and one grandchild, and his wife of 22 years, Mary Ellen.