Spicher, Robert G. (1935-2014)

Spicher, Robert G. (1935-2014)

Date Updated



Civil Engineering

Academic Rank


Year Retired from SJSU


Educational Background

Washington University (St. Louis), 1963 D.Sc.

University of California (Berkeley), 1959 M.S.

Cornell University (Ithaca), 1958 B.C.E.

Teaching Experience

San José State University, 1965-1996

University of Miami, 1963-1965

Administrative and Professional Experience

Associate Dean of Graduate Studies (SJSU), 1979-1980

Mechanical Engineer - Shell Oil Company, 1959-1960

Fuels From Biomass, Program Manager, Dept. of Energy, Washington D. C. , 1977-1978

Selected Publications

Spicher, R. G. and Skrinde, R. J., "Potassium Permanganate Oxidation of Organic Contaminants in Water," J. American Water Works Association, 55:1175 (1963).

Spicher, R. G., Agardy, F. J. and Orlob, G. T., "Cannery Waste Treatment - Part 1: In-Plant Characterization," Proceedings of 22nd Industrial Waste Conference, Purdue University, Engineering Bulletin, Vol. LII, No. 3; 44-66 (1967).

Spicher, R. G. and Seabloom, R. W., "Radioactive Contamination of Water Supplies," Office of Civil Defense, April, 1971.

About 30 articles have been published.

Personal Commentary

During my tenure at SJSU I was privileged to serve with a group of outstanding engineers and educators. The Civil Engineering Faculty was a close-knit family who worked well together and liked each other. Our Civil Engineering Department was one of the best in the country and our graduates were in high demand. I look back on my 31 years at SJSU with memories of a good career.

Date Updated: October 18, 2011

I was born in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1935. In 1937, my family moved to Indiana, PA, hometown of Jimmy Stewart and Christmas tree capital of the world. Alter graduating from high school in Indiana, I went to Cornell University for my BS degree in Civil Engineering in 1958. The next year I went to the University of California in Berkeley and got my MS degree in Sanitary Engineering in 1959. In July 1959, I went to work with Shell Oil Company in Southern California for about 14 months. In 1960, I went back to school for my doctorate. I started at the University of Cincinnati in an industrial hygiene program. After one semester there, I switched to Washington University (St. Louis) and got my Sc.D. degree in Environmental and Sanitary Engineering in 1963. My first teaching job was at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL. In 1965, we moved to San Jose, and I started a 31 year career at SJSU.

At SJSU (besides the usual committees, etc.), I served as the Director for two Defense Civil Preparedness Agency Engineering Service Centers for 5 years and as Associate Dean of Graduate Studies for 1 year. I was instrumental in getting a chapter of Chi Epsilon (the Civil Engineering honor society) at SJSU. Inside and outside the university I did consulting with various companies on waste treatment, environmental impact reports, industrial waste characterization and treatment, water treatment and distribution, water quality, sanitary landfills, etc.

In 1977, I went to Washington, D.C., for a year as a Program Manager in the Department of Energy. While in Washington I learned to square dance. When I returned to San Jose, I continued square dancing and met my future wife at a square dance. My wife is Norwegian and originally from N. Dakota. We were married in 1981. She worked as a research technician at the VA Hospital in Palo Alto.

While in San Jose, my wife and I were active in Crossroads Bible Church. We sang in the choir and especially enjoyed doing the Christmas and Easter musicals. We retired at the end of May, 1966, and moved to Lincoln City, OR, in June. We have a home with a nice ocean view and can walk to the beach. Retirement is great!

I have two children: a son, who got his BS and MS in Civil Engineering at SJSU; and a daughter, who graduated from Fresno State in Physical Therapy. My son works in San Jose and lives in Milpitas. My daughter lives and works in San Francisco.

Date Completed:10/96

Adapted from: Biographies of Retired Faculty San Jose State University 1997: A Project of the Emeritus Faculty Association of San Jose State University. San Jose, CA: The University, 1997.


Spicher, Robert G. (1935-2014)