John A. Quinn, Engineering

John Albert Quinn, professor emeritus of chemical & biochemical engineering at Penn, died on February 8 after a brief illness. He was 83 years old.

Dr. Quinn was born in Springfield, Illinois. He graduated at the top in his class with his BS in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois in 1954. He then earned his PhD in chemical engineering from Princeton University. From 1958-1971, he served on the faculty of the University of Illinois.

Dr. Quinn joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania in 1971 as a professor of chemical & biochemical engineering. In 1974, he received a secondary appointment in the department of bioengineering.

He received Penn’s second annual S. Reid Warren Jr. Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1974 (Almanac January 14, 1974) and was the first incumbent of the Robert D. Bent Professorship in 1978 (Almanac May 23, 1978). He was appointed chair of the department of chemical & biochemical engineering in 1979 (Almanac January 23, 1979) and held the position until 1985.

During his time at Penn, Dr. Quinn served on the Faculty Senate Nominating Committee and the Senate Advisory Committee. He was a member of the University Council’s Academic Planning & Budget and Academic Review Committees, and later chaired its Research Committee. He served on the Campus Committee for the Program for the Eighties, the Council of University Scholars and the Research Foundation Board.

He was also a member of the Consultative Committee that advised the President and Provost on the appointment of Gregory C. Farrington as dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science; the Task Force on Retirement, which examined the effects of the federal uncapping of retirement; and the Bioengineering Task Force for Penn’s Institute for Medicine and Engineering.

He received the Allan P. Colburn Award in 1966 and the 1978 Alpha Chi Sigma Award (Almanac January 30, 1979), both from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1978 and to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 1992 (Almanac May 12, 1992).

He retired and took emeritus status in 2001.

In 2004, his former students and colleagues endowed the John A. Quinn Lecture in Chemical Engineering, presented each spring at Penn in recognition of his extraordinary career as a researcher, mentor and educator.

He is survived by his wife, Frances; their children, Sarah Quinn Christensen (Steven), Becket Quinn McNab (Andy) and John Edward Quinn; four grandsons, Bradford, Christopher, Edward and John; two sisters, JoAnn and Virginia; and one brother, James.

Contributions may be made in his memory to the Lukas Community, Memorial Drive, PO Box 137, Temple, NH 03084.