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Gates, Robert M. (Robert McFarland), 1883-1962



  • Existence: September 7, 1883 - November 7, 1962

Biographical Information

Robert M. Gates was a member of the Class of 1907. While in school, Gates took a prominent part in the activities of the Athletic Association, the Mechanical Engineering Society, was a Cadet Captain during his junior year, and a Major the following year. He was a member of the Dramatic and Glee Clubs.

After graduation Gates practiced as a consulting engineer and spent several years in the materials handling field in the Cleveland area. Frederic Schaff, an '07 classmate, convinced Mr. Gates to join the Superheater Company, of which he subsequently became vice president. From 1933 to 1939 he was also vice president of the Combustion Engineering Company and was then elected president of the Air Preheater Corporation. He was an active member in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, having served on many important committees, also as a manager, vice president and president.

Gates was also a member of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, the American Iron and Steel Institute and Newcomen Society. He also belonged to the Engineers Downtown Athletic, Union League, University Glee, Purdue Alumni, and Scarsdale Golf Clubs.

Gates was awarded an honorary doctorate in Engineering by Purdue University in 1943. He delivered a talk entiteld "From British heritage to American achievement in engineering" at a national Newcomen Society dinner, held at New York on November 16, 1944; the talk was later published by Princeton University Press.


1907 Purdue University Debris Yearbook.


The Purdue Alumnus. December 1943. vol. XXXI, no. 3, p. 1.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Robert M. Gates collection

 Collection — Box: Communal Collections 6, Placement: 25
Identifier: MSA 119
Scope and Contents Front cover of Purdue Alumnus, December 1943, vol. XXXI, no. 3, features Robert M. Gates receiving the coveted "M" from Admiral Howard L. Vickery, Vice Chairman of the U.S. Maritime Commission. Page one also features a column about Gates.
Dates: undated