UC Berkeley press release


Mechanical engineer Robert Steidel, key figure in Cal's athletic program for years, dies at age 70

Berkeley--Robert F. Steidel, Jr., professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, died of cancer at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley on Sunday, March 2. He was 70.

An acclaimed teacher in engineering, Steidel was also a key figure in Cal's athletics program as the campus's faculty representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association from 1972 to 1990.

Steidel joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1954 and became emeritus in 1991. He was the author or editor of four books, and his research focused on engineering design and mechanics, mechanical vibration and geothermal systems.

He was among the first recipients of the UC Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award, earning the honor in 1960. He served as chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and later as associate dean of the College of Engineering from 1980 to 1986.

In his work with the NCAA, Steidel monitored academic issues pertaining to student athletes, including eligibility to compete and compliance with NCAA regulations. He became a leading figure in the NCAA and served four years on its highest governing body.

In addition, he was an adviser to countless Cal athletes, encouraging them to complete their degrees and keep education a priority.

He was also an avid supporter of the Cal Band and the UC Botanical Garden, serving on several committees and boards for each.

Born in 1926 in Goshen, NY, Steidel received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Columbia University. He earned a D.Eng. in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley in 1955.

Steidel is survived by his wife, Jean, who lives in Berkeley, and their four sons -- John of Kennewick, Wash.; Mark of Danville, Calif.; David of Quincy, Calif.; and Steven of Boise, Idaho -- and their families. No memorial service is planned.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Berkeley Engineering Fund for the Robert F. Steidel, Jr. Memorial Fund for Mechanical Engineering, 208 McLaughlin Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1722; or to the Alta Bates Comprehensive Cancer Center, c/o Alta Bates Foundation, 2850 Telegraph Avenue, 6th Floor, Berkeley, CA 94705.

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