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A memorial service will be held to honor the late William G. McLean ‘32, former director of engineering and a member of the faculty for four decades, 2 p.m. Sunday, March 2, at Colton Chapel.

Joining the Lafayette faculty in 1937, McLean served as director of engineering from 1962 until his retirement in 1975, and as head of the department of engineering science in its different forms from 1946 until retirement. He was a three-time recipient of the Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Award for superior teaching and won the Daniel L. Golden ’34 Alumni Association Award for outstanding volunteer service. His distinguished service to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, including stints as vice president of Region III, vice president of codes and standards, and chairman of the Performance Test Codes Committee earned him the ASME Codes and Standards Medal and designation as life fellow. He wrote two engineering books and served on Lafayette’s Special Committee on Co- or Coordinate Education, which recommended co-education at the College.

McLean was born in Scranton, Pa., in 1910 and was a lifelong resident of the city’s Bellevue section. He graduated summa cum laude from Lafayette in 1932 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and earned a master’s in mathematics from Brown University in 1933. He belonged to the Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi, and Sigma Xi academic honor societies. He taught for three years at West Scranton High School before becoming an instructor of mechanical engineering at his alma mater. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1940 and to professor of mechanics in 1948. He took a leave of absence from 1944-1946 to assist the war production effort as senior physicist and assistant to the superintendent at Eastman Kodak Company’s special products division.

During his later service as director of engineering, McLean acted as adviser to the president and provost on curricular programs and faculty members in engineering and coordinated the course offerings. He was a member of the Post-War Program Committee, adviser to the College’s chapter of Kappa Delta Rho and vice president of the fraternity’s board of governors, and the only engineering member of The Apostles, a group of 12 senior Lafayette professors that engaged in monthly philosophical discussions.

McLean wrote Analytical Mechanics for Engineers with fellow Lafayette professor Charles L. Best in 1965, updating it in a second volume the next year, and Outline of Theory and Problems in Engineering Mechanics in 1952, which was translated into Portuguese and published in Brazil in 1960. After retiring from Lafayette, he continued his consulting work in engineering education.

Lafayette awarded McLean an honorary doctorate of engineering in 1978. “In the 50 years since you first entered Lafayette you have gained regional and national influence in engineering education, in the definition of standards, in the introduction of the metric system,” said K. Roald Bergethon, then Lafayette president, at the presentation. “Your textbooks have been widely used for decades and continue in new revision; your service in state and federal associations and committees has been continuous and leadingStill the strongest emanation and effulgence rose and goes on spreading from your hours in the classroom, where clear and imaginative presentation, peppery challenges for the able, and patience for the struggling made you the ‘Mr. Chips’ of engineering for generation after generation of students.”

McLean was listed in Who’s Who in the East, American Men of Science, and Outstanding Educators of America. The Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers presented him with the Distinguished Engineer Award in 1966, and in 1978, the Lehigh Valley Chapter of PSPE honored him with the Truman Yeager Award “in recognition of an engineer who has contributed greatly over his career to the betterment of the engineering profession.”

He was active for over 30 years in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He promoted the metric system through roles such as policy adviser with the ASME Metric Committee, vice chairman of the Engineers Joint Council Metric Commission, and membership in the American Society for Engineering Education Metric Committee and American National Metric Council’s Metric Practice Committee. He also served as chair of the ASME policy board and organizing committee, and as a member of its Board on Professional Development.

McLean was chairman of the Association of Engineering Colleges of Pennsylvania, president of the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers and the Pennsylvania Registration Board for Professional Engineers, director of the National Society of Professional Engineers, and Middle Atlantic Section chair of the American Society for Engineering Education. He was a member of American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Engineers Club of the Lehigh Valley, and the American Ordnance Association.

In 1968, McLean was appointed to the Hugh Moore Parkway Commission, becoming chairman in 1970. He was vice president of the United Neighborhood Centers of Lackawanna County and a member of the American Association of University Professionals and Holy Cross Church in the Bellevue section of Scranton.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles