OBIT: Purdue Calumet retired Civil Engineering Technology Prof Ralph Bennett

For the second time in less than a week, Purdue University Calumet has lost a beloved member of its campus family.

Ralph Bennett III, retired professor of civil engineering technology and a 36-year faculty member, died Tuesday (3/2). He was 71. His death follows by four days the passing of Professor of Management Hugh Daubek.

Ralph BennettBesides civil engineering technology, Bennett, a professional engineer, taught various construction-related courses and also served as head of the university’s former Department of Construction Technology.

“He was very instrumental in the growth and success of Purdue Calumet’s Construction Technology program and was extremely well-respected and well-liked by his students,” current Construction Science & Organizational Leadership Department Head Anthony Gregory said.

Bennett’s students included those aspiring to enter the construction industry, as well as professionals already in it. In response to a request from a local refinery, he developed a training program that became a national standard for instruction in scaffold erection and safety. The program attracted professionals from across the country and even internationally, including OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) inspectors.

“You see scaffolding up at various building and industrial sites, but how can you know if it’s been erected safely?” he once said.

He also was active in the Calumet Chapter of the Indiana Society of Professional Engineers. As president during 1982-83, his efforts helped enable the chapter to gain national “Most Active Chapter” recognition.

The Dyer resident and Eldorado, Wis. native, who retired from Purdue Calumet in 2006, received the Purdue Alumni Association-Calumet’s Distinguished Service Award for teaching, scholarly activity and service in 1983. The Dyer Lions Club recognized him as Citizen of the Year in 1976.

He was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and held a master’s degree from Illinois Institute of Technology.