Dunkirk local one of few to have two engineering diplomas
Dr. Robert Lyczkowski graduated from Dunkirk High School as Valedictorian in 1959. According to the Cleveland State University’s Washkiewicz College of Engineering 2017-2018 issue, he received his bachelor of chemical engineering from Cleveland State University and Fenn College of Engineering in 1964. Fenn College officially became a part of CSU on Sept. 1, 1965 making Lyczkowski one of the few students that received two diplomas, one from Fenn College and the other from Cleveland State University.
Lyczkowski’s desire to become an engineer started early and was sparked by Sputnik 1 being successfully launched by the Soviet Union in 1957. After not receiving the New York State Regent Scholarship in the first cut, he ultimately decided to attend Fenn College notably for its cooperative training program (co-op), later called the cooperative education program.
He traveled by train in 1959 to take scholarship examinations and was interviewed by Dr. V. Richard Gulbenkian, director of admissions and records. He was awarded the Fenn College Freshman Year Scholarship and the Federal National Defense Loan that allowed his dream of attending college to become a reality.
During his years as a student, Lyczkowski worked on campus as a telephone switchboard and elevator operator and as a lab assistant for Dr. Frank Bockhoff, chair of the chemistry department. These positions were in addition to working as a co-op. Lyczkowski completed six quarters of cooperative training with Arthur G. McKee & Company, located right next to Stilwell Hall. He kept all of his co-op reports for publication. He recently wrote and published “The History of Multiphase Science and Computational Fluid Dynamics: A Personal Memoir.”
While attending classes at Fenn, Lyczkowski built and maintained great working relationships with faculty including Professor Pettyjohn and Frank Bockhoff, one of the best teachers he ever had at Fenn. Bockhoff also taught a polymer chemistry course for Arthur G. McKee employees in the evenings that Lyczkowski attended as a co-op, while Professor Pettyjohn played a role in Lyczkowski’s future enrollment at Illinois Institute of Technology.
Lyczkowski had the desire to continue his education after graduation, and since Fenn did not have a graduate program at the time, he had to attend another institution. He also applied to several engineering companies as a backup, in case funding didn’t come through.
He graduated from Fenn and was accepted at several graduate schools. He received funding from several institutions including Illinois Institute of Technology’s (IIT) Civil Engineering Department. Professor C. Fred Gurnham wrote to him to explain that the Chemical Engineering Department’s funding had been depleted, but that his department still had funding. After turning down an offer for full-time employment with BFGoodrich in Avon Lake, Ohio, Lyczkowski decided to accept an offer at Carnegie Institute of Technology. However, prior to his departure from Fenn, he received an IGT Fellowship offer from IIT’s Gas Technology Department. With Carnegie Tech’s approval, Lyczkowski accepted the IGT Fellowship, ultimately earning his masters of science and Ph.D. from IIT. After graduating, he returned to Ohio to work for Goodyear Atomic Corporation.
Lyczkowski’s career consists of working at three national laboratories: Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (NEL), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Argonne National Laboratory, where he spent most of his career, retiring in 2012. He also worked at Energy Inc., a consulting firm located in Idaho Falls after leaving INEL.
Robert W. Lyczkowski has established an endowed scholarship fund to provide financial support to students pursuing a doctoral degree in chemical and biomedical engineering. He will supplement the Robert W. Lyczkowski Endowed Scholarship Fund with an additional estate commitment.
Dr. Lyczkowski is the son of the late Walter and Joanna Lyczkowski of Dunkirk, and the brother of Elaine and Danny Buckland of Gowanda.
He currently lives in Darien, Illinois.