Gowensville native headed Clemson engineering department

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dr. Samuel B. Earle headed  the Clemson engineering department served as acting president twice
Dr. Samuel Broadus “Sam” Earle was born in Gowensville in 1878.
A son of Dr. Thomas John and Janie Kennedy Earle, he was only 11 years of age when his renowned  minister/educator father (pastor of Gowensville Baptist Church and director of the Gowensville Seminary) died in 1889, but he inherited his father’s dedication to education.
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Furman University in 1898, then went to Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, for a Masters and an LL.D degree in engineering.
He first joined the faculty of Clemson University (then known as Clemson Agricultural College) in 1902 as an assistant professor in engineering.
Earle was director of the Engineering Department and Experiment Station from 1911 to 1933, and dean of the School of Engineering from 1933 to 1950.
He also served as acting president in 1919, as well as in 1924 and 1925, when he refused the permanent presidency. He served the university for 48 years.
The Samuel B. Earle Award is given in his honor each year to the most outstanding senior in engineering on the basis of scholarship and character.
Earle Hall is the first building on campus to be named after a living person. It was dedicated as the chemical engineering building in 1959, and houses intense research in chemical and biochemical separations, kinetics and catalysts, molecular modeling and simulation, polymers, fibers and films, and supercritical fluids.
Dr. Earle married Susan Hall Sloan, the college librarian, in 1908 in his sixth year as an assistant professor.
He was a charter member of the First Baptist Church of Clemson, and served as Sunday School Superintendent for 49 years. He also served as a deacon and was a moderator for the Saluda Baptist Association.
Members of the university faculty, students and residents of the Clemson community affectionately referred to him as “Dr. Sam.”
He died just after his 100th birthday in 1978.

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