Lehigh University lost a beloved teacher and researcher on Dec. 18 with the passing of Robert D. Stout ’41G, ’44 Ph.D., who served as a mentor to three generations of Lehigh students during a career that lasted more than 70 years. Stout, dean emeritus of the graduate school and professor emeritus and former department chair of materials science and engineering, died two weeks before his 98th birthday. A pioneer in the field of welding materials, Stout remained an active researcher well into his 90s, from his retirement in 1980 until 2011.
After earning his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University, Stout began his Lehigh career in 1939, when he enrolled as a graduate student and was appointed an instructor in the metallurgical engineering department, now the department of materials science and engineering. He was named department chairman in 1956, and in 1960, he became dean of the graduate school, a position he held until his retirement in 1980. In the 1980s, he began working at Lehigh’s ATLSS (Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems) Engineering Research Center as a research fellow and adjunct professor. Stout also received accolades from his colleagues and students for his contributions to the quality of materials science education. In 1981, the Robert D. Stout Distinguished Professorship was established in his honor. And in 1996, Stout received the Lehigh Distinguished Alumni Award. Later, a state-of-the-art welding testing laboratory was named after him in the ATLSS Center.