Robert Doyle Holstead
OUTSTANDING ALUMNUS AWARD for MECHANICAL & INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING: 2001
In recognition of outstanding service and leadership in the engineering profession.
Robert D. "Doyle" Holstead graduated from Louisiana Polytechnic Institute in 1959 with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering. Upon graduation he entered military service in the U.S. Air Force where he obtained certification in meteorology and served as a weather officer. He completed his M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1963 and served briefly as Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. He earned his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 1967 and returned to Louisiana Tech where he served on the faculty as Associate Professor, Professor and Department Head until 1985. He went on to serve as a distinguished professor and administrator at Clemson University (1985-88), Centenary College (1988-90), and Baylor University (1990-99).
Dr. Holstead had an unyielding dedication to the education of undergraduate students and throughout his career, while supporting graduate school and research, refused to let those programs detract from the undergraduate students. He believed that the best teachers should teach the freshmen and sophomores and the result would be competent juniors and seniors. He also believed that the goal of the undergraduate program was to produce graduates that were able to continue their education without a teacher. His dedication to teaching was honored with several Outstanding Teacher Awards. The evaluations by his students of his teaching were always at the highest level. Dr. Holstead’s dedication to students reached into the high schools where he often presented programs about engineering.
Dr. Holstead’s believed that new technology should be integrated into the classroom as quickly as possible. He was one of the first to allow students to use electronic calculators on examinations and one of the first to introduce students to computer-aided design. He enjoyed assigning the heat transfer problem that he solved for his doctoral degree to his senior students as a homework assignment that was due at the next class meeting. His favorite project was to eliminate archaic methods that were developed to avoid calculations.