Robert D. Dryden, former dean of the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, and Vice Chancellor for Engineering for the Oregon University System, passed away unexpectedly and peacefully on July 6 at his home in Blacksburg, Virginia.
In 1995, Dr. Dryden was appointed dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science and embarked on a mission to refine, reshape, and expand its role as the region’s engineering research hub. By the time he retired in 2008, the College experienced unprecedented growth, including a 35 percent annual increase in externally funded research, 50 new faculty members recruited from some the most prestigious institutions in the world, addition of 41 new laboratories, five new Ph.D. programs, an upsurge in student enrollment, and continuous expansion of research partnerships with regional industries and government agencies.
In 2004, the College received an $8 million dollar private donation, what was at the time, the largest private gift in the history of Portland State University. In recognition of this gift, the school was renamed the “Fariborz Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science.”
As dean, Dr. Dryden oversaw the construction and dedication of the 130,000 square-foot Engineering Building, part of the Northwest Center for Engineering, Science and Technology and home to Maseeh College. The Dryden Drop Tower, a five-story lab facility in the Engineering Building atrium, was named in honor of the indelible contributions he made to engineering and computer science education at Portland State University.
Dr. Dryden continued to serve as a professor in the department of Engineering and Technology Management until his passing. He is survived by his wife Jean, son Bobby in Lubbock, Texas, daughter Julie in Blacksburg, Virginia, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A private family memorial to be held in Virginia will be scheduled at a later date. Condolences and remembrances may be shared in an online guest book.