Gilbert E. Doan was known nationally as an educator, a consultant, and a research engineer. He completed his undergraduate education at Lehigh University in 1919 and received the Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Berlin in 1927. From 1919 to 1924, he worked in industry. In 1926, he returned to Lehigh University where he taught for 26 years, serving as head of the Department of Metallurgy from 1939 to 1952. In 1952, he returned to industry as manager for metallurgical research for the Koppers Company in Pittsburgh, until retiring in 1959. He was a consultant to a number of major industrial firms, including the Bethlehem Steel Corporation and served as a guest lecturer at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Osaka University and Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan, Benares University in India, and Lafayette College. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London and a member of the Newcomen Society and numerous other scientific and technological organizations.
Dr. Doan conducted pioneering research work in welding and in the radiography of thick metal sections by radium. His honors included the Lincoln Gold Medal from the American Welding Society in 1943, a Certificate of Appreciation from the U.S. Department of the Navy for distinguished research in 1948, and the Stoughton Award in 1949. In addition to his scientific papers, he was the author of a book on physical metallurgy that was the standard college text in its field for many years. During his retirement, he wrote a series of articles in which he identified many of the problems facing our increasingly technologically-oriented society and served as the director for the National Association for Better Radio and TV.
While on the Lehigh faculty, Dr. Doan started the department's professional development class, which is now called Mat 101. His family later endowed the Gilbert E. Doan Award, which is presented each year by seniors in the department to the person who has "best served them as a mentor, in the technical, professional, civic, moral and spiritual dimensions of their education."