The Faculty History Project documents faculty members who have been associated with the University of Michigan since 1837. Key in this effort is to celebrate the intellectual life of the University. This Faculty History Website is intended as a component of the effort to document the extraordinary academic achievements of Michigan’s faculty in building and sustaining one of the world’s great universities. It provides access to a comprehensive database of information concerning the thousands of faculty members who have served the University of Michigan.
Find out more.

The Bentley Historical Library serves as the official archives for the University.


Robert O Goetz
Regents' Proceedings, 57

The Regents of The University of Michigan are deeply saddened to acknowledge the untimely death of Robert O. Goetz, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering and Assistant Dean for freshmen in the College of Engineering. A celebration of his life, in which many family members and friends participated, was held on Sunday, August 9, 1987, at the First Presbyterian Church.

Dean Goetz earned his B.S.E. degree in 1949, and after earning the M.S. degree in Civil Engineering in 1950, joined the faculty in the Department of Civil Engineering. He devoted his entire career to research, teaching, and the counseling and guidance of students during the critical freshman year of their college experience.

His professional area of expertise was in soil mechanics. A versatile, devoted, and inspired teacher, he taught courses from the beginning level freshman computer course to an advanced level course in soil mechanics as applied to the design, construction, and rehabilitation of pavement systems. For many years he worked closely with the late Professor William Housel, an internationally recognized expert in this field. In the late 1960's, his contributions to Professor Donald L. Katz's book, Engineering Concepts and Perspectives, had a lasting impact on freshman education.

Over his many years of teaching, Dean Goetz earned a distinction for being caring and sensitive to the needs of students, and in 1968 he began devoting a great deal of his time to formally counseling freshmen. In 1978 he was appointed Assistant Dean for the Freshman Year, with responsibility for coordinating the college's freshman counseling program for approximately 1,500 engineering freshmen. The wisdom and compassion with which he guided thousands of students through those first important months of college has had a vital impact on the lives of countless young people, as well as on the programs of the College of Engineering.

Friends and colleagues will remember him as a devoted husband and father, whose warmth, gentleness, and understanding extended beyond his family to touch the lives of his friends, his colleagues, and the scores of young men and women who benefited from his knowledge and guidance.

Regents’ Proceedings, September 1987, Page 57