Alfred A.H. Keil
...Alfred A.H. KeilFormer Dean of Engineering Alfred A.H. Keil died on Wednesday, Jan. 9, at the Goddard Nursing Home in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.Keil
, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease, was 88 years old. Keil
was one of the world's leading authorities on naval architecture and ocean engineering.
has made a lasting contribution to the school and to the Institute through his
efforts to articulate a new and broader vision of engineering education and to use the resources of the school with increased effectiveness," wrote then-President Jerome B. Wiesner and then-Chancellor Paul E. Gray '54 in 1977, when Keil
stepped down as dean of the School of Engineering. Professor James D. Bruce ScD '64, an associate dean under Keil, served as interim dean after his departure.
Bruce remembered Keil
as a remarkable scientist and engineer, an innovative educator, and a friend."His
ideas concerning engineering and science education, though early, have stood the test of time and many are being implemented now," Bruce told Tech Talk."He
really had a warm heart.He
cared about people.I often think of seeing him with my children when they would come to the office at the end of the day." Born in Konradswaldau, Germany, on May 1, 1913, Keil received the Doctor of Natural Science degree from Friederich Wilhelm University in 1939.After receiving his degree, he conducted research and experimentation on the physics and effects of underwater explosions. Following World War II, he worked for the U.S. Naval Technical Mission in Germany from 1945-46 and came to the United States in 1947 to join the Navy's Bureau of Ships.
As chief scientist of the Navy's Underwater Explosion Research Division
in Portsmouth, Va. for 12 years, he
became an authority on ship protection. Keil became technical director of the Structural Mechanics Laboratory at the Navy's David Taylor Model Basin in Washington, D.C. in 1959, and was the first technical director for the entire organization from 1963 to 1966.
During this period, he
made extensive contributions to improving the structural integrity and survivability of naval vessels. Keil came to MIT in 1966 as head of the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, now the Department of Ocean Engineering, the oldest academic department of its kind in the country.
leadership, the department added a graduate degree program in ocean engineering in 1967 and launched a joint-degree program with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1969.
Not long after his
arrival at MIT, Congress
passed the National Sea Grant College
and Program Act.Recognizing the opportunity for MIT
to benefit from participation in this new marine program, Keil
succeeded in obtaining the first grant awarded by the new national program.His leadership led to the establishment of the MIT Sea Grant Program in 1970, of which he was the first director.
In December 1976, MIT
became the first private university in the nation to be declared a Sea Grant College
term as dean of engineering, Keil
was named a Ford Professor of Engineering.In that role, he
urged engineers to be concerned with the social impact of their activities, which he
termed "the wiser use of science and technology."
awards and honors are two Navy Meritorious and Distinguished Civilian Service Awards, the Coast Guard's Meritorious Public Service Award, the Gibbs Brothers Gold Medal Award from the National Academy of Sciences
, the Gold Medal Award of the American Society of Naval Engineers
, the Lockheed Award for Marine Science and Engineering, and the Officers Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.