Bob Lyle Tributes and Memories

Paul Anderson '63

Bob Lyle was a great teacher and an extraordinary mentor for students.  He knew how to help a student design a meaningful research project and then had the courage to let the student pursue it.  I was very fortunate to have had him guide the early stage of my career.  He taught me that life long learning is not only a critical component of a career in research; it also is what makes it fun.  Fifty years later his teaching philosophy still guides how I think about things.

John LaMattina '75 PhD

Bob Lyle was one of the three most influential people in my life. One couldn't have asked for a better Ph.D. mentor. He gave me a great deal of freedom in the lab, but he was ALWAYS there if you needed him. He spent countless hours with me not only on my projects, but also on my career decisions. He was a brilliant chemist, but he never wore his intelligence on his sleeve. But most importantly, he treated all of his students with respect. I am sure that I am not alone when I say that I tried to emulate him in my management style.

Permit me one story. In 1975, as I was dealing with "'writer's block"  while putting together my Ph.D. thesis, I set up a dart board in the lab. (When I visited that same lab a few years ago, there were still holes in the door from some errant tosses!). One day, Dan Comins and I were having a contest. Bob walked in, saw what we were doing, took a dart and proceeded to throw a bulls-eye! He then simply smiled at us and went back into his office leaving two humbled grad students in his wake.

He was an extraordinary role model and I will miss him.

David Walsh '70 PhD

I would say that  Bob had a profound and lasting impact on my life, and his teachings will be with me forever.  Since I never knew my biological father, he was a role model to me.  I will miss his advice and consideration.

Courtland Spicer '66 PhD

I was one of Bob's graduate students in the 1960s. From the very beginning I was struck by what a remarkable man he was. Yes, a scholar and an outstanding teacher, but he treated his students as colleagues, not subordinates. He set high standards, yet always had a warm smile to go with his coaching when students didn't quite meet expectations. His leadership model stayed with me- many times during my career after grad school, when faced with a difficult problem I found myself asking What would Bob do? Overall, I regard him to be the most generous and gracious man I've ever known, probably the most influential teacher or professional colleague in my life, and I feel truly honored to have known him.