November 12, 2003


William W. Shuster

Fritz Victor Lenel

Paul K. Rummel

Harrison Shull



William W. Shuster

Emeritus Professor of Chemical Engineering, William W. Shuster, died last March at the age of 85. He is survived by one daughter, five sons, and his wife Nancy to whom he was married for 54 years. They resided in Melrose for 40 years, moving to the Beechwood Retirement Community in Troy in 1993.  Bill was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Norristown High School, Pennsylvania in 1981 as a distinguished graduate.  He earned B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering at R.P.I.

Bill worked as a process engineer at E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. in Belle, WV from 1939 to 1945 and in 1946 came to RPI as an instructor of Chemical Engineering.  He advanced through the ranks at RPI becoming Full Professor in 1955 and Emeritus Professor in 1983.  Bill helped to establish one of the first environmental engineering programs in the nation and served as its director. He was appointed Chairman of the New York State Hazardous Waste Disposal Advisory Committee and New York State Technical Advisory Committee on Hazardous Waste Disposal by Governor Hugh L. Carey.

Bill Shuster received many awards and honors. He was a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering and won its national award for distinguished service. He was a diplomat of the American Academy of Environmental Engineering and a member of several professional societies. Bill was a fine, considerate teacher and an excellent administrator who headed the chemical engineering department on two occasions. He was inspiration to students and professors. Many of us remember him marching in the graduation processions as Marshal, carrying the mace. He was recognized by receipt of the Distinguished Faculty Award and the RPI Silver Bowl Award.  

Bill was also a community leader. He was active in the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts as Scoutmaster and committee member. He was a volunteer fire fighter and president of the Melrose Fire Company. He served as commissioner of the Melrose district of the Rensselaer County Environmental Management Council and Sewer District Advisory Council He was president of the Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club. The Erie Canal was one of his hobbies, and he showed his slides and lectured about the canal many, many times. He belonged to the First United Presbyterian Church in Troy having served as trustee, elder, deacon and church treasurer and later was a member of Brunswick Presbyterian Church.

Many consider Bill Shuster one of the most significant contributors to the RPI community who represented us at a national, state, and local level. No professor was more liked and respected. His wise advice, friendly demeanor, and tireless help were truly admirable. He was a key man in the right places as our university advanced to the position it now holds among the top technical universities in the world.   


Fritz Victor Lenel

Fritz Lenel was born in Kiel, Prussia, on July 7, 1907.  He was educated in Germany in the turbulent period between the great wars, studying chemistry at the universities of Breslau and Munich in the mid-1920’s, and then receiving the Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg in 1931.  His postdoctoral studies were at the University of Gottingen, under the tutelage of two famous scientists, Arnold Eucken and Edward Teller.  Following this, Dr. Lenel, as did many others, emigrated to the United States in 1931, as National Socialism rose to power in Germany.


Once in this country, Dr. Lenel initially worked several years in New York City as a metallurgist for Charles Hardy, Inc., and in 1937 moved to Dayton, Ohio, where he joined the Moraine Division of General Motors Corporation as and R&D metallurgist researching the properties and processing of mainly iron-based powder metallurgical parts for automotive applications.  In the mid-1930’s powder metallurgical processing for the production of near-net-shape small parts was making its initial impact on manufacturing, as an alternative to the more expensive and less efficient technologies of rough casting and machining to tolerance.  During the 10 years he worked at GM, Dr. Lenel became the lead engineer in transferring powder metallurgy, then known as a relatively new laboratory technique for the shaping of metals, to pilot scale, and finally toward full production.  Perhaps most important about his decade-long sojourn in Ohio was meeting and marrying Margaret Schroy, of Dayton.  Together they raised five children – four daughters and a son.  They extended Lenel family now consists of 13 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.


In 1947, Dr. Lenel was invited by Professor Matthew A. Hunter to join Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as an Assistant Professor in the then newly formed Metallurgical Engineering Department.  Professor Hunter, internationally famous for his extraction of titanium metal and the study of its properties, encouraged Dr. Lenel to initiate a program of powder metallurgy research at Rensselaer.  The success of his research program, which was recognized as one of the strongest, if not the strongest in the country, and Dr. Lenel’s excellent record of teaching, led to his promotion to Associate Professor in 1949, and to Professor of Metallurgical Engineering in 1953.  He chaired the Materials Engineering Department from 1962 to 1969.  Fritz Lenel formally retired in 1973.  Over that time he served as advisor to over 50 graduate students, of which I (John B. Hudson) am one, including Cornelius Barton, former Rensselaer Acting President and a Trustee, and George Ansell, former Dean of Engineering at Rensselaer and President of Colorado School of Mines.


Fritz Lenel, a charter member of the American Powder Metallurgy Institute, was held in the highest regard as an internationally renowned expert.  His textbook, Powder Metallurgy, Principles and Applications, was published in 1980, remains today an authoritative source of information on that field.  His travels as a lecturer and teacher spread the name of Rensselaer worldwide: He was a guest scientist 6 times at the Max Planck Institute, Stuttgart, Germany; an invited doctor at Hebrew University, Jerusalem Israel; a teacher at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science, Seoul, Korea and the Institute of Metals, Changsha, China: and an exchange scientist at the USSR Academy of Science.


In recognition of Fritz’s many contributions to the Materials Science and Engineering Department and to the School of Engineering, a student area was built in the Materials Research Center and named the Fritz V. Lenel Student Lounge. (This is somewhat ironic to those of us who knew Fritz, as Fritz never “lounged” a day in his life.)  It is, however, fitting, in that our students over the years have held him in high regard as a mentor whom they understand and admire for hi academic commitment and contributions.

Paul K. Rummel

Paul K. Rummel died on Monday September 15, 2003, at the Eden Park Nursing Home in East Greenbush after a short illness.  He started at Rensselaer as an Instructor of Mechanical Engineering in 1949 and served as an Assistant Professor before he left Rensselaer to join the staff of the Watervliet Arsenal in 1957.

Mr. Rummel held a bachelor's degree in physics from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from RPI.

Mr. Rummel was an Army Air Corps veteran of World War II and was discharged with the rank of lieutenant colonel. While in the Army, he served as a meteorologist.  He joined the faculty of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1949.

In 1957 Mr. Rummel began his career at the Watervliet Arsenal as a mechanical engineering consultant and became a full-time employee later that year. He served as a mechanical engineer in the Research and Engineering Division, Industrial Processes Branch of the Arsenal in 1959 and a year later was named chief of the Industrial Processes Unit.

In 1962 he was named chief, Industrial Engineering Laboratory of Benet. In 1977 he was named associate director of Benet and in 1981 was named director, a position he held until his retirement in 1986.

He was a member of the Sigma Pi Sigma, Pi Tau Sigma, Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Xi as well as the American Meteorological Society, American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Society of Engineering Education.

Mr. Rummel was a member of the Church of the Covenant United Methodist in Averill Park. He enjoyed the wildlife that would visit his backyard.

Survivors include his present wife, Margery Craig Merow Rummel of Sand Lake; two sons, Peter K. (Rita) Rummel of Sand Lake and David P. (Julie Richter) of Howes Cave; a daughter, Susan C. (Greg) Killingsworth of Florida; a sister, Ruth Buyens of Haines City, FL; and three grandchildren.


Harrison Shull

Harrison Shull died in the summer of 2003.  He was a distinguished scholar, educator, and administrator.  He served as Vice President and Provost of Rensselaer from 1979 to 1982. 

Shull was born August 17, 1923 the youngest son of George Harrison Shull, inventor of hybrid corn and professor of genetics at Princeton University, and Mary Julia Nicholl Shull.    He graduated from Princeton with highest honors in 1943.  From then until 1945, he served in the U.S. Navy at the Naval Research Laboratory.  He earned his PhD in physical chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley in 1948.  On a Rockefeller scholarship, Harrison worked with Robert Mulliken at the University of Chicago, where he began developing molecular orbital theory.

 Dr. Shull joined the chemistry department at Iowa State University as an assistant professor and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to pursue research in Quantum Chemistry at Uppsala University in Sweden.  While in Sweden he helped establish the Quantum Chemistry Summer School at Valadolen, Sweden and Sanibel, FL.

 From 1955- 1979 he was a professor and chair of the chemistry department at Indiana University in Bloomington.  He was the author of over 140 scientific papers and a college level Chemistry textbook.  He became an innovator in Computer development and use, originating the model Quantum Chemistry Program Exchange and heading the University's Research Computing Center.  He also served as Dean of the Graduate School and Vice President of the University.

From 1979 to 1982, Dr. Shull served as Vice President and Provost of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  In 1982, he was appointed Chancellor of the University of Colorado at Boulder.  In 1985 he became Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey CA.   He retired in 1995.

Dr. Shull was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1969.  He was also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, and several other scientific and research associations and Phi Beta Kappa.  He was an active International member of the Kungliga Vetenskaps Akademin and the Faraday Society. 

He was active on a number of national boards and commissions, including the Federal Manpower Commission, the Institute for Defense Analysis, and the Naval Studies Board.  He led a science policy initiative with the then Soviet Union and worked for the release of Professor Andrei Sakharoff.  Dr. Shull was awarded a Congressional Medal and a Special Tribute from the Institute for Defense Analysis.