Mercer Mourns the Loss of Founding Dean of the School of Engineering Dr. C.B. Gambrell Jr.


LAKELAND, Fla. – Dr. Carroll Blake Gambrell Jr., founding dean of Mercer University's School of Engineering, died Thursday at the age of 91.

He was a faculty member at Purdue University and Arizona State University and served as vice president of academic affairs at Florida Technological University (now the University of Central Florida), before becoming dean of Mercer's School of Engineering upon its establishment in 1985.

While at Mercer, Dr. Gambrell was named the first Georgia Kaolin Industry Endowed Chair in Engineering in 1987 and helped establish the Mercer Engineering Research Center in Warner Robins, which he also directed from 1987-1995. He retired as dean emeritus of the School of Engineering and as vice president of research for the University in 1997 and was named a Mercer National Engineering Advisory Board Fellow in 2000.

Dr. Gambrell was born on Dec. 1, 1924, in Birmingham, Alabama. He studied engineering at the University of Alabama, was a member of the ROTC program and enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve.

He was called to active duty in April 1943 and sent to Yale University to continue his engineering education, after which he served in the combat engineers in Europe during World War II, fought in the Battle of the Bulge and received the Purple Heart for combat duty in Central Europe and the Remagen Bridge. On April 10, 2013, he was awarded the French Legion of Honor Medal for his service in World War II.

Following the war, Dr. Gambrell earned his Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Clemson University, Master of Science in Engineering from the University of Florida and Ph.D. in industrial engineering from Purdue University.

He served as an adviser and consultant to three secretaries of the Army while on the Army Scientific Advisory Panel and the Defense Science Board. He retired from the Army Reserve as a lieutenant colonel in the corps of engineers.

Dr. Gambrell was a longtime member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers and the American Society of Engineering Education, and was a registered professional engineer in four states. He served on the boards of Winter Park Hospital and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, as well as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), on which he conducted more than 40 accreditation visits in the U.S. and abroad. He was named a Fellow of ABET in 1989.

Dr. Gambrell is survived by his wife of 72 years, Olive, a son, a daughter, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Visitation will take place Nov. 20, 3-5 p.m., at Carpenters Estates in Lakeland, Florida, and a private interment will be held at a later date at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the C.B. Gambrell Scholarship Fund in Mercer University's Office of University Advancement, 1501 Mercer University Dr., Macon, GA 31207, or Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, 1214 81st St., Birmingham, AL 35206.

About the School of Engineering

Mercer University's School of Engineering, founded in 1985, offers innovative and academically challenging programs that provide students with a comprehensive education, featuring a solid foundation in mathematics and sciences, a core engineering curriculum, a range of courses in engineering specialties and a strong emphasis on communication technologies. The School is consistently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top three master's-degree-level engineering schools in the Southeast. Known for its breadth of instruction in its undergraduate program and its five-year joint bachelor's and master's degree program, the School combines technical education with hands-on laboratory experience. Mercer engineers can look forward to joining fellow alumni in companies such as Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, Lockheed Martin, Georgia Power, Siemens and Gulfstream Aerospace.