Richard G. Klein

For his record of outstanding leadership in industrial research and development, and for his service to his community and its educational institutions, the Schools of Engineering are proud to present the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award to Richard G. Klein.

Vice President
Corporate Research and Technology
Nordson Corporation
BSME '65, PhD '73

Klein bust

On being a student

As a student I was in the engineering honorary societies Tau Beta Pi and Pi Tau Sigma. I played snare drum in the Purdue band, which consumed a lot of time but provided for a lot of camaraderie, too. I was active in a university religious organization, and I developed many friendships with students in my residence hall.

I also worked for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company under its squadron training program. This program gave me experience working in the factory, learning about the product from the ground up. My experience as a co-op student was very beneficial. I was exposed to several engineering environments including plant engineering, tire design R&D, and operations research. I met and worked with several senior executives, but most significantly, I learned how to work with different people. It was an excellent training ground, and made me mature more rapidly technically.


The competence and enthusiasm of my professors had an impact on me. They had a high sense of right, and of honesty. Professors like Bob Fox, Bob Kohr, and Al Holowenko loved what they were doing, and it showed-and excited you as well.

Young Klein bust

On engineering education

An understanding of, and ability to communicate with, other disciplines is important. Mechanical engineering students should mix with students from other engineering disciplines, with students from the business school, industrial design, and so on, to develop an appreciation for their views and thinking processes.

On competitiveness

Remaining competitive in the global market system is a challenge. We have to stay technically competent and up-to-date to bring about the innovations that will have value to the customers that we serve.

We need to integrate our engineering knowledge with a knowledge of our customers and their needs. We have to get industry and the universities properly coupled together.

We have to create forums for these two groups to find ways to serve each other productively. In the long run, industry will need the brainpower in the universities, and universities will need industry.


Became vice president of corporate research and technology at Nordson (manufacturer of equipment and systems used to apply coatings, adhesives, and sealants). Directs development of new technologies used in application of polymeric materials. Manages a portfolio of R&D programs serving both near-term and long-range technology needs of corporation. Responsible for workplace and environmental safety at Nordson.


Joined Nordson as manager of corporate mechanical engineering. Was soon named director of corporate mechanical engineering. Managed technology programs involving robotics, electromechanical dispensing devices, control system development, and study of electrostatic charging methods.


1975: Promoted to manager of engineering and mechanics R&D for Engineered Products Division.
Research engineer at B. F. Goodrich Co.

BSME '65, Purdue; MSE '66, University of Michigan; PhD '73, Purdue.