Charles Edward Wicks

Charles Wicks Charles Edward "Doc" Wicks, professor emeritus, beloved teacher, and former department head of Chemical Engineering at Oregon State, died on July 29 at the age of 85, following a brief illness. A celebration of Doc Wicks's life will take place Friday Sept. 17, 7 pm, at the LaSells Stewart Center on the OSU campus.

To the many friends, colleagues, and former students of Doc Wicks: Please use this page to post a favorite memory or anecdote describing his impact on your life. We'll compile these remembrances and share them with his family.

To make a memorial contribution to the OSU Foundation, as suggested by the Wicks family, click here and be sure to designate your gift "in memory of Charles Wicks."

Comments (24)

I was a Chemical Engineering student at OSU from 1968-1972 while Doctor Wicks was head of Chemical Engineering. His mentorship began even before I was a student. It started when I was a high school senior during campus visitation. When my father asked him whether this was an appropriate career choice for a woman, Doctor Wicks didn't hesitate to assure him that it was. My admiration for Doctor Wicks started that day and grew throughout my years of study. He was such a capable and upbeat person. I always felt his support and encouragement. When I thought I would need to go school for a fifth year to earn my degree, he counseled me on how I could still graduate "on time" by going to summer school. And, during the time of campus interviews by hiring companies, he showed me the importance of challenging sexual harassment. When I was just going to shrug off some behavior by one interviewer, he insisted that I report it to the campus placement center. I will always have fond memories of Doctor Wicks and his influence on my life.
#24 - Betty Fleck Miller - 10/13/2010 - 17:04
When I first got the notice of Doc's passing, I pondered the situation for a couple days, then told my husband I wanted to go home to the Celebration of Life. Did he want to come along? Being that we don't get home very often and we haven't taken any vacation yet this year, the answer was yes, with the requirement that we would go to Tillamook to eat ice cream some where on the trip. That was easily accomplished. As students at OSU, Mark & I stayed in our own departments so he never met Doc, but he had heard about him. After the memorial, Mark felt he understood Doc and why we were so attached to him. Certainly, he felt cheated as he had nothing like Doc over in the Computer Science department.

I've always had my big three list of "Everything I need to know about Chemical Engineering I learned in Doc's fall term freshman year Intro to Chemical Engineering class". I may be the instrument and controls expert in my company, and not a process engineer, but these still come to play regularly. My interns get the lecture on item two and three all the time. I guess that is fitting because what is a 12 week internship other than Introduction to Chemical Engineering?

1. Material balances: Draw a table, it's just accounting. I was at OSU long before Excel, 123, or even Visi-calc. Today this is obvious, but I have not met anyone my age that did not come through OSU that did material balances in hand drawn spreadsheets, not one person. Being a corporate engineer with plants all over the world I've worked with ChemE's from a lot of schools and this was unique to us. I don't know why, it was so obvious, and certainly when the computer programs came in, it was the norm.
2. Figure out your Degrees of Freedom, you cannot specify or control everything. This should be really obvious as well, but as the principal instrument and controls engineer in a good sized chemical company I see that it is not that obvious. I can't tell you how many development engineers (some even PhD ChE) that come to me with things like an over head reflux pot that they want to fix the reflux flow, the take off flow and the level in the pot with an uncontrolled overhead vapor rate in the column. Guys, something has to give there. Doc had us thinking about this from the start.
3. The last one is the biggy-when you are all done, look at the answer and ask your self-does this look reasonable? I first remember really using this in Dr. Welty's heat transfer class. I had a problem that I had to calculate a heat up rate. When I came up with the answer of 2 ½ days, I went back and re-read the problem-we were heating up an iron. Now, as a girl raised in the 60's the iron was a fixture I was taught to use, and it did not take that long to heat, so this was a dead give away that I'd made some sort of a mistake.. I've used this self check method on everything I do and I wish a few others did as well. Last year a design firm gave me a relief valve spec with an "L" (really big) orifice. The valve was to go on a heat exchanger that only held about 6 gallons of heat transfer oil. The entire inventory of oil would be gone in less than a minute. Someone over at that big design house forgot to make that last check Doc always talked to us about. I raised our son with this principle, and it has always helped him find his mistakes along the way.

While my big three weren't quite anyone else's big three, after the memorial, I have added a couple more to the list I forgot about, or else did not attribute entirely to Doc.

The circles-define the basis of what you are doing your balances on in small segments-draw a circle around it and go to work. Take that elephant one bit at a time. Also, I've always attributed my thinking on problems to being an engineer, but I had missed crediting Doc with the thought process: What do you know; What are you looking for. Our son was raised with that philosophy of attacking problems, and from listening to the comments; apparently he was not the only one.

Over the years, I've often stated that I'm not sure the OSU Chemical Engineering program is as good as it was when I was there because Doc and Dr. Levenspiel had retired and I did not know anyone who could possibly take their place. After sitting there listening to the various people talk, including Dr Harding, I'm sure we are still in good shape. Doc has not left us at all; he just has a new voice. He trained the new professors the same way he trained us. As long as they (and we) remember to pass on the legacy, Doc will never leave OSU.


Lucinda Bailey Weaver
ChE '80
#23 - Lucinda Bailey Weaver - 09/29/2010 - 05:43
I spoke at the Celebration of "Doc's" Life last week. I didn't speak from written notes, so I can't repeat exactly what I said. I'll do my best, though to express the same sentiment.

We all have a few Father figures in our life and when I think of Doc, I think of him as one of those Fathers.

I remember specifically a time when my grades were suffering because I was choosing parties over studying. Doc Wicks called me into his office for a chat, and told me that I had the ability to complete the program and become a chemical engineer, but he wasn't sure if I had the motivation.

That moment brought me up short, changed the course of my college career and changed the course of my life. (As Ken noted in my introduction, I later was elected President of AIChE - an honor that I owe in large part to Doc's influence and especially to that moment.)

Throughout my career, when I have reminisced with others about Doc Wicks, it seemed every one that knew him could point to a moment like that when Doc served as their Father at just the time when they needed one. I don't know how he could sense just the right time to have that moment with us, but somehow he did.

I remember a time late in my college career that I saw Doc pacing the lobby at Gleeson Hall, looking somewhat perplexed. I asked what was on his mind, and he shared that he had been invited to lead the Mass Transfer program for the National Science Foundation, a very prestigious honor. So I asked him what could be the problem with that. He said that his sons would be seniors in high school and he would be spending most of his time in Washington, DC., missing this important time in their lives. In the end, I learned that Doc turned down the honor so he could spend the time with his family. It spoke to me of what was important to him in his life.

So, at this time of celebrating his life, I want to say "Thanks. Thanks from all of us. Thanks to Ken, Roger and Julie for sharing your Father with us. And, thanks to Miriam for those times when you would probably have liked to have him home instead of helping us learn how to live our lives."
#22 - Bill Byers - 09/25/2010 - 17:44
I know that many of the people that were impacted by my Dad were not able to be there Friday night. The event was truly a Celebration - Dr. Welty said that it had been 7 weeks and 1 day - I am convinced that enough time had passed for us to Celebrate without a second of sadness. After 11 over speakers, I closed the evening with these words (hopefully I will not exceed a word limit):

I was at a retreat for work a few weeks ago and as part of the preparation we read a book called "The Leadership Moment" by Michael Useem. This book told the story of nine people who demonstrated positive and negative aspects of leadership in their actions. One of the positives was the story of Nancy Barry who helped build the Woman's World Bank by giving micro loans of as little as $50 that helped multitudes of women out of poverty. The chapter concluded with something that Nancy Berry said about her father, who had recently passed away: "He lived a life of small actions, with big ripple effects, and ended up fulfilling the purpose of his life."

I could say the same thing about my Dad, a person who impacted all of us here in different ways. I knew him as Dad, Doc Wicks when I took mass transfer, and later in life I called him Pop - that was his name for my granddaddy, my Mom's father. In 2002 I was lucky enough to be asked to give a homily on Fathers' Day at my parish in Westfield, NJ. I want to share this with you since this is a part of our Dad that most of you never had a chance to see. Here is a portion of what I said that day:

This is the story of the men who helped me in my journey - first, I want to tell you about my Dad, Charles Wicks.
•My Dad is happily retired after over 30 years as a college professor. He is a father to three children, and a grandfather to seven.
•My Dad grew up without a father in a time when that was uncommon. He learned about becoming a father from his grandfather, his uncle and from his incredible mother. Looking back at that today it is amazing that my parents were married for 61 years; their kids have been married for 29, 27 and 23 years and counting. We had a great example - Thanks, Mom.
•My Dad and I became very close friends when I was college. I actually had to take a class from him - could you imagine having to take a class from your Dad? During that three-month class my Dad and I rarely talked. That was very difficult for me as we had gotten very used to catching at least a few minutes every day. I will tell you, that was the hardest I ever worked in a class. I know you all want to know - I earned an A in the class!
•I have a couple brief stories that I want to tell you about my Dad. I have a twin brother, and we used play sports together all of the time. One day I got mad at my brother, and I threw a dart at him. Not only did it stick, but it stuck in his rear-end! The funniest part of the story is that Roger started running away from me. He wanted the dart to be there when Dad got home. I'm sure you have all heard that too - wait until your father gets home! I did eventually catch him and got the dart pulled out. You know, I was so worried about what Dad would do at the time, I don't even remember how he reacted.
•My Dad grew up in a religious, Christian Science, home. He and my mother, raised my brother and sister and I in an active Methodist home. We all have things that we remember from our childhood - the thing that I always remember is my Dad telling me to "Use caution" when I went out with friends. He wouldn't tell me what to do or not do, he would just tell me to "Use caution".

That company retreat that I mentioned at the start of my talk talked about the importance of sharing stories, so I wanted to share those things with you that I shared with people who didn't even know my Dad. Here are some more stories that you can relate to:
•Our Dad's health starting declining Memorial Day weekend of 2007. After back-to-back surgeries, he went into respiratory failure. When he woke up in intensive care, I told him that they had been charting his blood pH and his CO2 partial pressure. I asked if we should use log-log paper to graph that - he answered No-No-No! I know, I know - semi-log, right?
•I remember early in my time at Oregon State I talked to my Dad the morning before a big test. I had only gotten a few hours of sleep, so he suggested that I go in the basement of the ChE Building and take a cold shower. He said that would wake me up and make me so mad at him I would relax about the test. Did he ever tell any of you that?
•When I took mass transfer from Dad, I brought my Mom to class the day of Mom's weekend - he actually picked on her and asked her to answer a question.
•I only had my Dad for that one class. My best friend Steve Pinney graduated with me in 1980 and he had five classes from Dad. Dad arranged the teaching schedule so that my chances to take him were minimized, but I still have great memories. I will always think of the chalk on the pockets of his suit - does anyone else here remember that? It was a golden era of undergraduate education to have classes from Dr. Mrazek, Dr Levenspiel, Dr Kayahan and my Dad.
•Once I walked into the outer office and there was a big bouquet of flowers. His secretary Vi told me that I would have to ask my Dad about them. I started quizzing my Dad what he was up to. He told me that he sent flowers to the staff in the Math department to find out which sections that the best teachers were teaching Calculus. That is a small example of his commitment to not just his students, but all of the students in the program.
•Many of you may remember his decision matrix - he taught me to use spreadsheets before the personal computer was invented and Lotus 1-2-3 and Excel changed our lives forever. How many of you did he guide through making life decisions by listing the important factors, weighting them and then comparing the results?

I am going to close by talking about his love for Oregon State. Dad met our mother at Willamette University before World War 2. I grew up with three Uncles and they all went to Willamette, as did my mom's parents. Dad came back after the war and went to Oregon State. At one point he was told that he was not going to make it in Chemical Engineering. I know that is why he always looked out for the students who had to struggle to make it through the tough curriculum that many of us shared. After he graduated in 1950 he went to Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh and then returned to teach at OSU in 1954. As a season ticket holder for over 50 years he saw great events and some bad football, but he stayed true to Oregon State.

Dad grew up in Albany, and my cousin stood up at Thanksgiving when we were young and said she was going to Oregon. My Uncle Clarence reached into his pocket and pulled out a penny and said "Here's your help from me". Needless to say my three cousins all went to Oregon State.

Many of you have seen the note in his obituary - "Once a Beaver always a Beaver". He said that to me and my wife Carol in response to the shirt that I was wearing a few days before he passed away. I am going to have a hard time saying this. What I remember even more is what he said to us starting when we were very young: "I'm a Beaver born, and a Beaver bred, and when I die I'll be a Beaver dead".

My Dad loved this university, he loved making a difference in students' lives and that is what we are here for. Remember the quote that I opened with: "He lived a life of small actions, with big ripple effects, and ended up fulfilling the purpose of his life."

By being here you have proven that he did make a difference in your life. Please join our family, and all of these alumni, in sharing your stories and the big ripple effects that my Dad had on your life. The people outside will be here with snacks, and beer and wine until 10 pm or so.

On behalf of my family, thanks again for being here. Thank you to all for making this journey to celebrate the purpose of Doc Wicks' life.
#21 - Ken Wicks - 09/19/2010 - 13:49
Transcript from Celebration of Life:

What a wonderful and sad night.

My name is Phil Harding. I currently occupy the Linus Pauling Engineer Chair in the School of CBEE. I am also a 1987 alum of the OSU Dept of CHE. I took 5 courses from Doc Wicks; I now teach 3 of those courses.

I give my condolences to the Wicks family. I am honored to have this opportunity to celebrate this man. After several nights of tossing and turning, I recognized that there is no way to adequately convey his greatness. There is no way to package what is in the hearts of so many with the constraints of time and language. I did, however, commit to wear orange (with Miriam's permission, of course).

Tonight we are all chemical engineering students.

In your mind's eye, walk through the door that was always open. Picture his smiling face with twinkling eyes, sitting a across a desk and inviting you to sit down. Imagine his giddy enthusiasm as he picked up a mechanical pencil and …. taught. It was the little things he did that led to such great results. The evidence lies in the words of the previous speakers and the presence of accomplished alumni I see as I look around the room: Darry Callahan, class of '64, former Executive Vice President of Chevron Texaco Corporation, Brian Konen, class of '87, West Linn paper mill manager, and of course Ken Wicks!

Many of my faculty colleagues had the honor of working directly with Doc.

Dr. Goran Jovanovic did his PhD work at OSU and tells how having Doc on his side was pivotal in his success. Goran opened a recent meeting by eloquently describing the "glorious past" of the chemical engineering dept at OSU, with the names Levenspiel and Wicks prominent.

Dr. Greg Rorrer worked with Doc to update the transport text, and Greg did a world class job of it (I now use that text). Greg says "Charlie was instrumental in securing a new faculty career development grant for me … and invited me to help him revise the mass transfer portion of textbook. It was a joy to work with Charlie on this project. I will always cherish the interest that Charlie took in me as a colleague and as a person."

Dr. Milo Koretsky tells the story of Doc Wicks returning from retirement to teach an additional mass transfer course gratis, an act that enabled the creation of the current engineering internship program.

Dr. Skip Rochefort describes showing up as a new faculty member just in time to teach mass and energy balance. Doc gave him all his notes, exams and then walked him through how it should be delivered.

The great Octave Levenspiel said it most succinctly: "He was good with the students."

Having Doc as a student was great, but I gotta tell ya, as a teacher, he makes me feel … inadequate. Listen to this list: Overall & component mass balances, Raoult's Law, combustion stoichiometry, fuel composition from exhaust, dimensional analysis, modeling and scale-up, plotting techniques for data analysis, vapor-liquid equilibrium.

Now, I recognize that half of you have no idea what I'm talking about, but let me tell you what that is: a list of topics on my CHE 101 final exam from Fall of 1982. If you don't believe, ask me and I'll show you. If I could hire an engineer who mastered only those skills, that person would have a decent career: 1st quarter, freshman year.

Before I was on faculty, I represented Hewlett-Packard on the advisory board. It was fun, because I knew that every break would become a story telling session about why Doc was so great. But as a faculty member I have to corral these conversations and get work done: "Hey! We have work to do!".

Dr. Keith Levien summarized Doc nicely when he told me "It was his concern for and belief in the individual student, his child-like enthusiasm, and his belief that chemical engineering opens doors."

Concern for the individual student:
• Classmates Mark Andrews and Heidi Hagman both went to medical school and are now a medical doctors. Mark recalls Doc's kindness, thoughtfulness, and patience.
• My classmate Keith Turner is now an engineering manager for the City of Corvallis. He describes a 10pm phone call from Doc asking how the homework was going. It wasn't going, so Doc called him down to the office and they had a HW session, just the two of them.
• My friend Ray Fritchey is here and is now a Principal at JBR Environmental Consultants. He left CHE after his sophomore year for business, but Doc continued to serve as his advisor until he graduated.
• Remember the plots Doc and Mrazek did of exam vs HW score? The correlation taught us the lesson that if you prepare, you will succeed.
• Exxon scholarship story
• Then there's Doc showing up at a senior party at 2am (jacket, tie, and brown bag)… We'll chalk that up to "concern for the student".

Child-like Enthusiasm:
• Signing us up for the EIT exam as if it wasn't optional. I'm sure many consultants owe their career to that approach. I remember him being so giddy about how OSU CHEs always smoke that exam.
• The beloved CHE Plant trip of the past: Remember how he would bounce around pointing at unit operations, so excited… child-like enthusiasm
• As a parent, I tell my children that happiness is a clear table with a pad of engineering paper and mechanical pencil. They don't quite buy it yet, but I know where I got that feeling: Doc's office.

Chemical engineering opens doors:
• He showed us a dialysis device and described the role of CHEs in its development.
• Keith Levien describes being toured through Eugene industrial sites…. CHE opens doors…
• My own personal experience: graduate school head to head with the best in the country, working in multiple industries around the world, believing I had the best tool set available, and I am now here to honor him.

If you take nothing else from my talk, take these words and apply them to what you do every day: have concern for the individual, embrace that child-like enthusiasm, and believe that what you do can open doors to the world.

Thx, Doc. We love you. Go Beavs. Lay the wood to those Cardinals for Doc Wicks.
#20 - Philip Harding - 09/19/2010 - 08:17
I truly enjoyed learning from Dr. Wicks and am delighted you're going to be offering a few words. One thing that sticks in my mind is his confirmation of the postulate that a student's ability to perform well on exams is rather well correlated to homework achievement as was depicted on 2-dimensional graphs I believe he posted with HW and Exam grades as the two axis. I recall very few outliers from a rather concise trend.
#19 - Dr. David Hackleman - 09/19/2010 - 08:12
My one Charlie story is that when I came to OSU I was literally handed the ChE 211 material Balances and ChE 212 Energy Balances courses with no preparation. I hadn't had the material in 20 years and had only really taught one polymers class in my life.

When I arrived at OSU, I asked Charlie if I could meet with him. When we met, he gave me all his notes, exams, quizzes etc. for teaching the course and then walked me through how it should be delivered. That entire first term, whenever I had a question he'd gladly answer it.
#18 - Prof. Skip Rochefort - 09/19/2010 - 08:11
"How to stay on the good side of Dr. Wicks"
One of the first persons that I met on OSU campus in the Fall of 1972 was President McVicar. I was a Fulbright scholar and he wanted to meet with me the very first day I showed up at the International Student Office. They took me to the sixth floor of the Administration building, where we had a short conversation the content of which I no longer remember. What I remember, however, was that I have been introduced to then Vice President Milosh Popovich, who is of Serbian origin, and whom I considered as my compatriot.
Few days later Octave took me to Dr. Wicks' office in Gleeson to officially meet with the Head of the Department. A funny thing happened at the meeting; while I was receiving instructions on how to become a successful graduate student at OSU, the telephone rang. It was Mr. Popovich calling to hear if Dr. Wicks met with me. I do not know what the Vice President said, but from that moment on my student life became very pleasant at Gleeson and OSU in general. With time, I learned how to stay on the good side of Dr. Wicks, and Octave, and others. I believe, however, that this particular phone call, back in 1972, set the tone of my thriving career at OSU.
Of course there are many more stories connecting me and my family with Dr. Wicks and his family, but this was the oldest vignette that I can remember in which I clearly see Dr. Wicks, Octave, Milosh Popovich and myself.
I am hoping that Mr. Popovich will also come to the memorial and perhaps shed some light on the mystery conversation.
#17 - Prof. Goran Jovanovic - 09/19/2010 - 08:10
Charlie Wicks continued to be an active sponsor of young faculty even after his retirement in 1988. In 1991, Charlie was instrumental in securing an new faculty career development grant for me through the ARCO Foundation. From 1994 to 1998 I taught Charlie's ENGR 333 Mass Transfer course. In 1999, Charlie invited me to help him revise the mass transfer portion of the "Fundamentals of Momentum, Heat, and Mass Transfer" textbook he co-wrote Bob Wilson and with his former PhD student Jim Welty, who is now an emeritus professor in mechanical engineering at OSU. It was a joy to work with Charlie on this project, and the fourth edition of the textbook was published in 2000.
I will always cherish the interest that Charlie took in me as a colleague and as a person.
#16 - Prof. Gregory Rorrer - 09/19/2010 - 08:09
In re-reading what I wrote yesterday, it occurred to me that it sounded like we called Dr. Wicks "Charlie" while we were students. We wouldn't have dared. He probably would not have stated his objection. However, we would have felt terrible about it. The nickname "Charlie" came later when we knew each other in a professional capacity at work and through the AIChE. Sorry if I misled anyone.

Howard Poppleton
#15 - Howard Poppleton '58 - 09/17/2010 - 17:03
I was an unlikely to succeed student - always late with administrative tasks and such. When I was transferring to CheE in 1979, the deadline had passed and I needed signatures. Dr. Wicks took me into his office and grilled me on principles of pendulums and other mysteries for about an hour. I guess I did OK because he signed my application and never gave up on me after that. One night he called me about 10 to check how my stoich homework was coming. It wasn't (I had friends over) so he had me come in right then. There were two of us in his office that night getting our homework done. When the pro school started and wasn't looking good for me, he steered me to the new pulp & paper program in forestry. When the pro-school eased up, Dr. Wicks was there to help me get back in and finish ChE. Dr. Wicks played a huge role in any success I've had in my life.
#14 - Keith Turner - 09/17/2010 - 13:55
Charlie was my favorite engineering prof. (Those of us who knew him longest generally called him "Charlie" instead of "Doc." It wasn't that we didn't respect him; he just made us feel more comfortable.) He came back to OSC with his newly minted PhD when I was a sophomore and struggling a bit. He made the classes we had from him more readily understood. I had a particularly hard time with one course from another ChE prof and came back from my honeymoon after Christmas break my junior year to find an incomplete waiting for me. I just didn't understand what the other prof was trying to teach us. I called Charlie and he invited me out for an evening of one-on-one help. That cleared up the problem for me. From there on it was clear sailing and I did much better. Without Charlie, I wouldn't be a chemical engineer now.

One quick story about his teaching methods. On occasion, he would read a statement out of a text or a thesis and ask us if it were true or false. We had to write down why we chose the answer we did. This was a double learning experience. It taught us to think and it taught to test what we read.

My sincerest sympathies to his family. I will miss him. Howard Poppleton
#13 - Howard Poppleton '58 - 09/15/2010 - 21:58
In September 1954 I was a recently discharged US Korean Army war veteran where I had been serving in the Veterinary service as a meat Inspector and food chemist. It was then, in Corvallis, that I first met Doctor Charles Wicks as he was known by his students in those more formal times. At that time I was seeking an OSC (as it was known then) MS degree in Food Technology with a minor in Chemical engineering. Upon earning the MS Degree I was accepted into the Chem. Eng. Dept. as a Ph.D. candidate and Doctor Wicks was appointed as my major professor. I was his first Ph.D. student. Thus began a strong two year relationship under his guiding hand and a lifelong friendship with Chuck as he became known to me and with Miriam. We enjoyed dinner together on my last visit to Corvallis. He is missed by many in the OSU community and beyond.
#12 - John Schnautz - 09/09/2010 - 06:11
Charles Wicks was a great teacher. That by itself earns great respect. But even more, he was caring and committed to helping people. His intellect, his energy and his thoughtfulness served him well and he will be long remembered by those who he touched.
#11 - Ray Torgerson - 09/09/2010 - 05:34
I am forever in debt to Dr. Wicks who was the best teacher I ever had, who was the one to lay down the solid ChemE foundation for me, who was the one willing to talk to me downstairs at his office, who encouraged me to pursue a doctoral degree at Michigan. I still have his "Mass Transfer" notes. Thank you very much indeed.
#10 - Robert Lee - 09/07/2010 - 08:31
Truly the passing of an era. Dr. Wicks helped me with the transition from Chemistry to Chemical Engineering... for which I am eternally grateful. He had the perfect blend of warm, friendly, encouragement, truth, and toughness.
I remember a Unit Ops midterm on distillation. He gave one C, 3 D's, and the rest of the class got F's. He required that we take the mid term again. We knew we were not that dumb, but obviously we had not learned what Dr. Wicks wanted us to. It was a good lesson in seeing the forest AND the trees.
In later life with AIChE, it was difficult for me to call him by his first name. We also shared a special bond... twin boys... His legacy will live on through family and the many heads and hearts that he has touched.
#9 - Jim Pierce... Class of 1969 - 09/03/2010 - 11:54
As a young man I arrived on campus to visit OSU in early 1973. I was peering into the open door that was to be my future and who was my "staff host" that day but Dr. Wicks. As my parents and I visited campus that day, he treated me as important recruit to OSU. As my story goes I attended OSU from 1973-1977 - but ended up in the Mecahnical Engieering department under Dr. J R Welty. The saying is one always remember first impressions - how true. I was so warmly received by and personally ushered through the engineering buildings and facilities. I was fortunate to take classes under Dr. Wicks - he always remembered students names and had time to talk. What a wonderful example of how we are to treat each other and the positive impact we can make on others. I will always remember his kindness and warmth - God Speed to you Dr. Wicks!
#8 - Harvey Niska - ME1977 - 09/02/2010 - 08:22
The first day I walked into Dr Wicks' office at OSU, I knew he was special. Coming from a small town in Oregon (Tillamook) without much exposure to the profession of Chemical Engineering, I had my doubts about whether Chemical Engineering would be right for me. Dr Wicks erased those doubts quickly with his enthusiasm, confidence he instilled in others, and most importantly his friendship. He had an enormous impact on so many people in the classroom and out, and he made each of us feel uniquely blessed by the special attention he gave us. He is forever in my memories and my persona.
#7 - Steve Pinney - 08/30/2010 - 05:24
Well, this is very sad news to hear. Doc was my undergrad ChemE advisor for four years, 1965-1969, and I can't begin to relate the many ways he helped me during that time. I feel very fortunate in that regard, not only for the wise advice he gave, but also for the opportunity to sit in on his classes. For he was one of the finest teachers I've ever had.

One anecdote to share. In the summer of 1968 there were a number of chem engr students working in the Corvallis-Albany area. One hot August afternoon Doc Wicks rounded us all up and we went swimming over at the river in Sweet Home. Then afterwards he treated everyone to pizza!

He was a great guy!! Over the years I've never met another OSU Chem Engr grad who didn't feel a warm regard for Doc. I'll never forget him.
#6 - Perry Jorgensen - 08/20/2010 - 13:13
I am so deeply saddened to hear of Dr. Wick's passing. Dr. Wick's was not only a fantastic academic leader in chemical engineering, he was, more importantly, a wonderful human being. Looking back at my 30-year career at ARCO, and now BP, I know that without his thoughtful, caring, personal attention during my undergrad days at O.S.U. I would have never begun my successful journey as a professional. I owe Dr. Wick's a HUGE amount of gratitude for helping me get hired as a summer metallurgical research technician at the U.S. Bureau of Mines in Albany, all the way to securing my first job out of college as a process engineer at ARCO's Cherry Point Refinery. Now as a senor leader within BP's global organization, I know Dr. Wick's is smiling down on me saying "I knew you could do it Ivan." He had faith in me, tutored me and gave me a chance. Eventhough, I express my deepest condolences to all family, and friends of Dr. Wicks, I want all to know that he will never be forgotten and will always occupy a very special place in my life.
#5 - Ivan Williams - 08/20/2010 - 12:53
I came to Chemical Engineering in 1969 for the computer budget (better than the EE's had), but I stayed for the enthusiasm of Dr. Wicks and others. Chemical Engineering is fun!

I have a clear memory of his face always smiling, always upbeat.

He never uttered the word, "forewarn," as he always used the term "prewarn." By so doing, he sealed into our minds the keys and indicators of how an analysis or calculation will turn out.

Dr. Wicks truly became my mentor following the demise of my own father, (Prof A. O. Jarvi, Civil Engr d. 1973) when I needed to rise several notches in adult responsibilty. He had the time and interest to show how it is done, and to criticize without being critical.

Other engineers at other schools may have had good teachers, but I cannot imagine my life and career without the example of Dr. Wicks.
#4 - George Jarvi - 08/20/2010 - 12:41
Dr. Wicks was my Ch.E. Ph.D. major professor from 1965-1968. Dr. Wicks was a tremendous advisor, supporter and teacher to me-a Texan far from home-who helped me win my doctorate and enter a wonderful life of technical, business and family success. I will always remember his basic rule for graduate students-be in your office when he reported to work early each morning and be there when he left for home late every evening. This "work ethic" has never failed me.

Thank you Dr. Wicks!
#3 - Geral E. Swiggett - 08/20/2010 - 12:32
I was one of Dr. Wicks' many Blue Key advisees. His care, warmth and humor was refreshing, and whenever I stopped into the Chemical Engineering Building office to see him, he made me feel like my visit was the most important thing on his calendar. Although I am an electrical engineer, Doc was one of my treasured mentors and career counselors during my (two) senior years.
Thermodynamics and the textbook that he co-wrote for fluid dynamics ("Fundamentals of Momentum, Heat and Mass Transfer") can actually be applied to understand why Charles Wicks was such a great man. The First Law of Thermodynamics (paraphrasing and really stretching it) teaches us that the Energy given away to others by Doc Wicks can never be lost. Those of us blessed to receive it are in turn obligated to pass it along to others. His body (Mass) may now be at rest, but the Energy that he gave eagerly during his lifetime, motivated those of us who were blessed to be his friends and students to be propelled with enough Momentum to set us on the right course for successful lives and careers.
Godspeed, Doc Wicks. You will be missed, but never forgotten.
#2 - Roger Tipley - 08/20/2010 - 11:11
Dr. Wicks helped me commit to Chemical Engineering, get a summer job and made learning fun for me. And the great part is that I know that he also touched many, many other people too. I just absolutely love that he was a very successful leader and he did not become full of himself. Such a quality to excel in so many ways and remain humble. When I want to remember him I can talk to his son Ken.
#1 - Ken Morgan - 08/19/2010 - 18:01