Born in Eagle Cliff, Georgia,
Robert M. Drake, Jr., graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor
of Science in mechanical engineering in 1942 and immediately joined the U.S.
Army Air Corps. He received his Master of Science (1946) and Doctor of
Philosophy (1950) from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Drake
resigned from the AAF in 1947 and joined the faculty of the College of
Engineering at UC-Berkeley.
ROBERT M. DRAKE, JR.
In 1954, Dr. Drake became an engine design
specialist with the General Electric Company Aircraft Gas Turbine Division in
Cincinnati, Ohio. Following three years service at General Electric, he was
named professor of mechanical engineering at Princeton University, and
subsequently was named chairman of the department. While at Princeton he chaired
the faculty committee that created Princeton's Computing Center, co-founded
Intertech Corporation, and was named by the Agency for International Development
to the Steering Committee for the creation of the Indian Institute of Technology
at Kanpur, India.
Dr. Drake left Princeton in 1963 to serve as senior
staff consultant with the Arthur D. Little Company where he worked on several
industrial and classified government projects. The next year he was called back
to his alma mater and joined the faculty of the University of Kentucky College
of Engineering. Dr. Drake was named chairman of the Department of Mechanical
Engineering in 1966 and served as Dean of the College of Engineering from 1966
until 1971, when he joined Combustion Engineering, Inc., as corporate vice
president of research and development. He returned to UK in late 1975 as Special
Assistant to the President in charge of major research programs, but left soon
after to become Corporate Vice President, Technology for Studebaker-Worthington,
New York. In 1981, he became co-founder, director, treasurer, and chief
executive officer of Projectron, Inc., Lexington, Kentucky (later sold to
Rediffusion Ltd. Gatwick and in turn purchased by Hughes
During his career, Dr. Drake consulted for many high
technology companies and government agencies. He was a prolific publisher in the
research literature on heat transfer and fluid mechanics, as well as being the
author or co-author of three books. He is a University of Kentucky Fellow and a
Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He is a member of the
National Academy of Engineering, the University of Kentucky Hall of
Distinguished Alumni, and honorary member of the American Society of Mechanical
Dr. Drake was inducted into the College of Engineering
Hall of Distinction in 1995. A Lexington native, he and his late wife, Jane, are
the parents of two children, Dianne and Kevin.