Robe Leadership Institute's Founding
The Robe Leadership Institute was founded by the Russ College Board of Visitors in 1996 in honor of the retiring Dean, T. Richard Robe, and his wife, Eleanora, who served the Russ College as a team during their sixteen-year tenure. The institute's first director and architect of its initiatives, Dean Emeritus Robe graduated from Ohio University in 1955 with high honors in civil engineering. Following a brief period with the General Electric Co. and after serving in the U.S. Air Force as a jet fighter pilot, he continued his education and served as an instructor of civil engineering at Ohio University from 1960 to 1963. During this period, he completed his master’s degree in mechanical engineering.
After earning his Ph.D. in engineering mechanics at Stanford University in 1966, Robe served as a professor at the University of Kentucky and later as associate dean for academic affairs in the college of engineering there. In 1980, he became dean of engineering and technology at Ohio University. During his tenure, the College introduced selective admission standards, women's and minority programs, and other innovative programs. Robe also worked to strengthen the College's faculty by introducing the practice of named professorships at Ohio University. He has served on numerous boards, consulted with several corporations, and published in several engineering journals.
The Russ College Board of Visitors initiated and endowed the institute to introduce leadership education into the engineering curriculum. The institute was approved by the Ohio University Board of Trustees that year and opened the following fall. Retired as director at the end of 2004, Robe remains engaged with the institute's programs and serves as a member of the advisory board.