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Stanley, Paul E.



  • Existence: November 6, 1909 - May 16, 1983

Biographical Information

Paul E. Stanley graduated from Manchester College in 1930 and received his master’s degree and doctorate from Ohio State University in 1933 and 1938 respectively. From 1936-1943 he served on the physics staff at Wheaton College, at which time he also served as Coordinator for the Civilian Pilot Training Program. He later served as Director of Ground School at Purdue University’s Navy War Training Service (WTS) Program. Stanley joined the combined Mechanical Engineering – Aeronautics School on January 1, 1945, as an instructor. He was promoted to assistant professor on July 1, 1945 and became a member of both the Air Transportation and Aeronautical Engineering staffs. He taught courses in air transportation, fluid mechanics, and stability and control.

Paul Stanley, along with Elmer Bruhn and Joseph Liston were instrumental in founding the Purdue University School of Aeronautics. They consulted leaders in industry to formulate curricula and laboratories. With Bruhn as head, the School of Aeronautical Engineering held its first registration in the fall of 1945, with 239 students enrolled. Two years later, after veterans had time to return, 736 students were enrolled in the School of Aeronautical Engineering. During the period 1946-1950, Stanley acted as an assistant administrator for the School, particularly the Air Transportation Division. He later served as interim head from 1964-1965. In 1965 he began a one year leave to study bioengineering. His work in this area dealt with various aspects of instrumentation and hospital safety and led to the formation of a Biomedical Engineering Center at Purdue in 1973. He served as the acting director, until a permanent director was hired in 1974. Stanley retired from Purdue in 1976 after 30 years of service. He passed away on May 16, 1983.


Grandt, A. F., Gustafson, W. A., Cargnino, L. T. (1995). One small step: The history of aerospace engineering at Purdue University. West Lafayette, IN : School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University.

Knoll, H.B. (1963). Story of Purdue Engineering. West Lafayette, Indiana : Purdue University Studies.

Stanley, P.E. (1947). Aviation at Purdue. Navigation, March, p. 10. Accessed 2 September 2, 2015.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Paul E. Stanley papers

Identifier: MSF 50
Scope and Contents The Paul E. Stanley papers document the earliest years of the School of Aeronautics and the planning that went into creating the school. Other material among the papers pertain to the early years of the Purdue Airport and Division of Engineering Sciences. Neil Armstrong was a student of Stanley's, and there are clippings, front pages of newspapers, reports, an invitation sent by Armstrong to Stanley for his homecoming celebrating in Wapakoneta, Ohio, along with other pre and post-Apollo 11...
Dates: 1909 - 1972; Majority of material found within 1947 - 1969