Death of Robert Yarnall, Trustee
D. Robert Yarnall, Jr., the longtime trustee who led in business and
civic affairs, died of heart failure on May 27 at the age of 74.
A graduate of Germantown Friends School, Mr. Yarnall studied mechanical
engineering at Cornell University. He left college to volunteer for the
American Field Service during World War II, driving a combat ambulance for
the British Army and, after the war he returned to Cornell to complete his
degree in 1948.
Joining Yarway, the family enterprise manufacturing high technology
products for energy and process industries around the globe, he eventually
became its president and then chairman. Two years ago he retired as chairman
of Envirite Corporation, an environmental services firm dealing with hazardous
Once considered for the position of managing director of the City of
Philadelphia, he was a business and civic leader of great ability: director
and deputy chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia for two years,
he also held directorships at Keystone International, PSFS/Meritor, Quaker
Chemical Corporation, and SKF Industries. He was especially interested in
international relations, founding the Greater Philadelphia International
Network and serving on the World Affairs Council. He also served on the
boards of the Cornell University Council, International House, Greater Philadelphia
First Corporation, Greater Philadelphia Economic Development Corporation,
Urban Affairs Partnership, Chestnut Hill Hospital, University City Science
Center, WHYY television, the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship, and the Philadelphia
Museum of Art. He also found time to develop as a creative artist, exhibiting
his photographs in several one-man shows.
At Penn, Mr. Yarnall was elected an overseer of SEAS in 1979 and a trustee
of the University in 1981. As a trustee he served on the Academic Policy
Committee, the Investment Board, the Executive Committee, and the University
Responsibility Committee, which he chaired. He was also chair of the Advisory
Board of the joint program between Penn and Shanghai Jao Tung University
in China. He and his brother James Biddle Yarnall, a former Director of
International Programs at Penn, were among the first to encourage an international
dimension at Penn.
"One of his greatest legacies to this institution, and to the global
community, is the D. Robert Yarnall International Scholarship Program,"
said a Trustees resolution to Mr. Yarnall last month. "Since 1989,
there has been a steady procession of Yarnall Scholars, the latest hailing
from Nigeria, Turkey, India, and Kenya. Students from around the world
will continue to benefit from this fine resource and will long remember
and be grateful to their generous benefactor."
Mr. Yarnall is survived by his wife of 16 years, Anne; three daughters
with his late first wife, Rie: Joan Ma, Sara Sanders, and Kristina Sibinga;
stepchildren Sarah Turell, Michael Gates, and Amy Gates; a brother; a sister;
seven grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.
Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 1, July 13, 1999
PAGE | CONTENTS
| BENCHMARKS: IN APPRECIATION
OF TWO DEANS |
ABOUT TEACHING | BETWEEN
ISSUES | SUMMER at PENN