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Hawkins, George A. (George Andrew), 1907-1978



  • Existence: December 11, 1907 - April 6, 1978

Biographical Information

George Andrew Hawkins was born in Denver, Colorado on December 11, 1907. He began his university work with two summer terms, and the full year between, at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. He then transferred to Purdue University, where he completed his work and received his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering in June of 1930. After graduation, he joined the Purdue University staff as an assistant in Applied Mechanics, while pursuing graduate studies. Hawkins earned him his master's degree in mechanical engineering in 1932 and his doctorate in 1935. During the summer of 1933, while still working on his doctorate at Purdue, he studied advanced mathematics at the University of Denver.

After obtaining his Ph.D., he joined the Purdue faculty in the School of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Hawkins was made a full professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University in 1942. One year later he was named Westinghouse Research Professor of Heat Transfer. For many years he was also on the staff of the Engineering Experiment Station and was named its Associate Director on July 1, 1950. In his research capacity, he performed a number of noteworthy investigations. He worked with Dean A. A. Potter and Dr. H. L. Solberg in studies of high-pressure and high-temperature steam. During World War II he was chosen to direct the U.S. Army Ordnance Research Project located at Purdue. The work carried out under his direction brought special citation to Purdue University for developments leading to improved automatic weapons. For his own personal contributions, he received the War Development's Certificate of Appreciation.

At Purdue in 1942, he was made the Assistant Dean of the Graduate School and for fifteen months of that appointment, he served as acting Dean. On July 1, 1953, he assumed the position of Dean of Engineering and Director of the Engineering Experiment Station, succeeding A. A. Potter. From 1961 to 1963, in addition to his work as Dean of Engineering he was given the administrative responsibilities for the Department of Mathematics at Purdue.

On July 1, 1967, Dr. Hawkins was appointed Vice President for Academic Affairs; at a meeting of the Board of Trustees in September 1971, he was designated Vice President Emeritus for Academic Affairs. Following his retirement he served the University in several positions, including: acting Dean of Engineering, acting Head of Aeronautical Engineering, Interim Provost, and Special Assistant to the Provost. He finally completed his retirement in July 1974, retaining the titles of Professor Emeritus of Thermodynamics, Westinghouse Research Professor Emeritus of Heat Transfer, and Vice President Emeritus of Academic Affairs.

Dr. Hawkins was the author of five college textbooks and approximately 240 articles and abstracts on engineering and related subjects. He served as a consultant to a number of industries and to governmental and other organizations.

His hobbies included rifles and pistols, collecting selected categories of stamps, and wood carving; using both machine and hand tools. His carvings were mainly of decorative water fowl and the Hopi Indian Kachina dolls, for which he was considered an expert.

In honor of Dr. Hawkins' many years of dedicated service to Purdue University and the country, the Board of Trustees voted at the May 15, 1981 meeting, to approve the naming of Graduate House West, West Lafayette Campus, George A. Hawkins Graduate House.


Purdue University Board of Trustee Meeting Minutes, May 15, 1981.

Memorial Tributes: National Academy of Engineering, Volume 1 (1979). Washington: National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Horton B. Knoll papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 521
Scope and Contents The Horton B. Knoll papers document Knoll's research, working papers, notes and typescripts for his books, A record of a university in the war years, 1941-1945, published in 1947, and The Story of Purdue Engineering, published in 1963. Also included among the papers is research material, working papers, notes and information related to Purdue presidents Owen, Smart, Stone, Elliott, and Hovde. There is also information Knoll compiled for his intended biography of John Purdue, and historical...
Dates: 1865 - 1981; Majority of material found within 1940 - 1963