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Emeritus professor dies of illness at 101 years old

Apr 23, 2012   |   by Sophia Dipaolo   |   The Dartmouth

Engineering professor emeritus Paul Etienne Queneau, a war veteran who held 36 U.S. patents in metallurgical and chemical engineering, died on March 31 at Kendal Retirement Community in Hanover after suffering from a case of the flu. Queneau was 101 years old.

Queneau joined the Thayer School of Engineering faculty in 1971 and partnered with his former company, International Nickel Company, to endow Thayer’s Paul E. and Joan H. Queneau Distinguished Professorship in Environmental Engineering Design.

Because of his experience in the corporate sector, he offered a link between academia and the “real world,” former Thayer Dean Charles Hutchinson said.

“Paul was an extremely confident and interesting addition to the faculty because he did not come to us in a traditional way,” Hutchinson said. “He had a complete corporate career before joining us and was around 60 when he came to Thayer.”

Queneau invented a number of groundbreaking industrial processes, with patents pertaining to the extraction of nickel, copper, cobalt and lead from ores and concentrates. He was a fellow and president of The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society and chairman of the Engineering Foundation. He received an Evans Fellowship from Columbia University and was awarded the university’s Egleston Medal, AIME’s Douglas Gold Medal, the Gold Medal of the British Institution of Mining and Metallurgy, Thayer’s Robert Fletcher Award and Chemical Engineering’s Kirkpatrick Award. He was also elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1981.

Queneau maintained a close relationship with his students, teaching a variety of courses at both introductory and upper levels, according to Hutchinson.

Paul Queneau, Queneau’s son, said that his father was extremely devoted to teaching at Dartmouth.

“He valued his time and his relationship with Dartmouth very much,” he said. “He taught many environment-related courses, as this was an area of great interest for him. He felt very strongly about protecting the environment and working with students as well.”

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