Robert H. Creamer, 92, engineering educator at Temple

Robert H. Creamer
Robert H. Creamer
Posted: August 01, 2011

Robert H. Creamer, 92, a founder of a forerunner of the College of Engineering at Temple University, died of lung failure Monday, July 25, at the Regency Retirement Village in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where he had lived for 12 years.

It took a three-step process for today's College of Engineering to emerge.

A 1966 Inquirer article said Mr. Creamer was at that time department chairman of mechanical engineering technology at Temple University's Technical Institute.

A 1968 Inquirer article said that, while continuing as department chairman, he had become director of the institute.

In 1969, he became one of eight founders of the College of Engineering Technology, serving as its associate dean and later as its acting dean, his daughter, Jane Sullivan, said.

The Technical Institute became the College of Engineering Technology, which today is the College of Engineering, said Steven Ridenour, director of undergraduate studies there.

What happened to engineering technology? A Temple website shows that it is now a curriculum managed by the department of mechanical engineering.

Mr. Creamer's daughter said that in 2010 the College of Engineering placed a plaque in its building to honor him and the seven other founders of the College of Engineering Technology.

"Although he spent his later years at Temple as an administrator," she said, "he managed to teach at least one course a semester.

"He started the first day of class by putting his name and home telephone number on the chalkboard, telling the students to call him at home if they got stuck on a homework problem. . . .

"I remember answering many of these calls."

Born in Atlantic City, Mr. Creamer earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1942 at Duke University, where he was one of three student founders of DukEngineer, now a biannual student magazine.

During World War II, he was a ballistics engineer, testing gunpowder at a DuPont site in Sylacauga, Ala.

The 1968 Inquirer article said that before joining the Temple faculty, Mr. Creamer held engineering, supervisory, and quality-control positions with Philco, Budd, and DuPont.

He joined the Temple Technical Institute faculty in 1947, according to the 1968 Inquirer article.

His daughter said that in 1983, Temple gave him its Stauffer Award for Distinguished Faculty Service.

He was author in 1968 of Machine Design, which a website describes as "a practical text covering the design of basic machine components."

From the late 1960s into the early 1980s, Mr. Creamer was a program evaluator for ABET Inc., the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

A resident of Haddon Heights from 1949 to 1982, Mr. Creamer was a member of the Board of Education there in the 1960s and a member of the Lions Club.

In retirement, he volunteered at the College of Engineering at the University of Alabama, in his wife's hometown.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Creamer is survived by a son, Donald; four granddaughters; and a great-grandson. His wife, Martha, died in 1998.

A memorial service is being planned.


Contact staff writer Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or wnaedele@phillynews.com.

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