Milnor Roberts

Arriving at the end of June 1940, for a year of graduate study in the College of Mines, I was immediately told to get hiking clothes for a 10-day trip in the Twin Sisters mountains (southwest of Mount Baker). For an Iowa boy, this was a great introduction to the Pacific Northwest! One of the four people on the trip was Dean Milnor Roberts. It is he who was my favorite teacher at the UW. On the trip, the dean (that is what we all called him) started teaching me something about mineral field trips, mountain hiking, etc. We had nine days of Washington rain but the dean never complained, nor did we, for it was a great trip.

During the school year, I took the dean's course on mineral processing, in which his many years of experience were used in instruction. In my later years in industrial research, there were several cases where the processing hints from the course helped solve problems. (Twenty-five years later I used some information from that course on processing.)

Once I followed the dean closely on a field trip into an old mine, for I felt I would learn more from him on the trip. At the end of one tunnel, the dean asked for a light against the wall. He said, "Well, they haven't done any more mining since the last time I was here." Someone said, "When was that, dean?" He replied, "The summer of 1910" (30 years later!).

When I submitted my master's thesis, one reviewer was the dean (he reviewed all graduate theses in the college). I had made one brief statement questioning the economy of part of the work I had been instructed to do. He asked me to expand that section, which I was glad to do. His reviewing was always thorough.

Roberts was the dean of the College of Mines from 1901 to 1947. Then it was joined with the College of Engineering. The Mines Building was then named Roberts Hall.

O.J. Whittemore, '41

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