Trustee emeritus Robert L. Yohe ’58, vice chair of the search committee that recommended the hiring of President Daniel H. Weiss, died Oct. 13, 2009.
Yohe served on Lafayette’s Board of Trustees from 1992-07, when he was elected to emeritus status. He was the board’s vice chair from 2004-07, vice chair and chair of its Financial Policy Committee, and served on the Educational Policy and Investments committees. He was chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Career Planning and Placement in 1994-95 and served on two other ad hoc trustee committees, Selectivity and Commencement. As an emeritus trustee he continued to serve on the Investment Committee and the Special Committee on Information Technology.
In 2007, Yohe received the Joseph E. Bell ’28 Alumni Distinguished Service Award.
Along with his wife, Judith C. Yohe, he was a sustaining member of the Marquis Society and hosted College programs in the Lehigh Valley and in Florida. Their gifts have benefited the College’s engineering and athletics programs, and their names are associated with a fund that provides substantial assistance to Marquis Scholars. In 2004 they honored Robert Yohe’s brother by endowing the Thomas G. Yohe Memorial Prize in Studio Art, which is awarded to Lafayette students who display creativity in drawing and illustration. The following year they established the Charles L. Best Memorial Prize in A.B. Engineering.
A chemical engineering major, Yohe was president of Student Council and co-captain of the lacrosse team. After graduating, he held offices in his class, chaired the Annual Fund, sponsored externships for students, and served as guest commentator for the policy studies course “Industry, Strategy, and Policy.”
Before earning an MBA from Harvard Business School, Yohe served three years in the U.S. Navy. He was stationed on a destroyer and achieved the rank of lieutenant.
Yohe was a former vice chairman and member of the Board of Directors of the Olin Corporation, Stamford, Conn. He began his 11 years with the company as vice president for mergers and acquisitions before becoming president of Olin Chemicals with sales of $1.2 billion and 5,000 employees. He retired in 1994 after 30 years in the international chemical industry.
Prior to joining Olin, Yohe held executive management positions with Uniroyal Inc, Hooker Chemical (a division of Occidental Petroleum), Environmental Services Inc., R. Dowling & Co., and Chinook Mobilodge Co.
He served on the boards of Albchem Industries Ltd., Airgas Inc., Betz Laboratories Inc., Calgon Carbon Corp., The Middleby Corporation, and SPI Polyols Inc. He also served on the board of directors of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, Chemical Manufacturers Association, National Association of Manufacturers, Southwestern Area Commerce and Industry Association of Connecticut, and Commission on Educational Excellence for Connecticut.
A public memorial service to honor the life of Yohe was held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, 2009, in Colton Chapel. The Yohe family greeted friends at a reception following the service in the Wilson Room of Pfenning Alumni Center.