Remembering Dr. Frederick George Sawyer

Samueli School Retired Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Student Affairs, 1983 - 1991

July 25, 2005 - Frederick George Sawyer died July 23 following an extended struggle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.  He was 87.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., he held three degrees in chemical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now the Polytechnic Institute of New York) including his doctorate that he received in 1943.  Later, he was honored by the Poly Alumni Association, which selected him for a Distinguished Alumnus Award.

His long and varied career included serving as the West Coast editor for Chemical and Engineering News, manager of public relations for the Ralph M. Parsons Company, and vice president of Jacobs Engineering.  As a consultant, he specialized in communication and environmental studies.

In 1983, Dr. Sawyer became Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Student Affairs for the School of Engineering at UC Irvine.

Passionate about teaching communication skills to engineers, his classes were standing room only.  His lifelong message, which he delivered with enthusiasm and humor, was “to help engineers and scientists do a better job of telling the world what we do for a living and how this relates to a better quality of life.”

In addition, Sawyer (an ardent feminist) was faculty advisor to the Society of Women Engineers and faculty coach of the women’s basketball team.

Upon his retirement from UC Irvine, he traveled the world and devoted himself to his other passions – writing and art.  His offbeat, satirical essays were published in the Journal of Irreproducible Results, New Humor Magazine, LAF!, Active Voice, and Satire.  His colorful acrylic abstract art pieces on homemade paper were sold and exhibited throughout the Southwest.

He is survived by his two daughters, Kathi Sawyer and Pam Wilkins, his ex-wife, Marjorie Sawyer, and his grandson, Ryan Spurlock.