Richard J. Grosh was born October 29, 1927 in Fort Wayne, IN. He entered Purdue University in 1945, but his education was interrupted in March 1946 for service in the United States Army. He was discharged as a sergeant in August 1947 after serving in the Counter Intelligence Corps in Japan. He returned to Purdue in September 1947 and received the BSME degree in June 1950. From 1950 to 1951 he was employed by the research and Development Department of the Capehart-Farnsworth Corporation where he studied infrared and electronoptic devices. He returned to Purdue in 1951 and received the MSME degree in 1952 and a PhD in August 1953.
In 1953, Dr. Grosh was appointed assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University and attained the rank of professor in 1958. During this period he was engaged in teaching and research in the fields of heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and thermodynamics. His research had been sponsored by such agencies as the Atomic Energy Commission, the National Science Foundation, Office of Ordinance Research, and various industrial concerns.
On July 1, 1961 Grosh was appointed Head of the Purdue’s School of Mechanical Engineering. From 1964 to 1966 he served as director of industrial development for the Purdue Research Foundation and vice president of McClure Park, Inc., Purdue University’s Industrial Research Park. In 1965 Grosh was named Associate Dean of the School of Engineering at Purdue and two years later assumed the duties of Dean of the School of Engineering.
On July 1, 1971, Grosh was appointed president of Rensselaer. President Grosh was responsible for innovations in Rensselaer’s educational programs, notably a Graduate program in computer science, and the Center for Technology Assessment. Furthermore, the former National Guard Armory was renovated into a modern sports and recreation center. The Freshman dining hall was renovated, new parking lots were constructed for student and faculty parking, construction on Folsom Library began, and new apartments for graduate students were built.
While president of Rensselaer, Grosh was named trustee of the Troy Savings Bank, Emma Willard School, and the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities of New York State. He was elected director of the National Commercial Bank & Trust Company, Sterling Drug Company, and Ranco Inc. He served as chairman of the Awards Committee of the National Academy of Engineering from 1972 to 1974. He was chairman of the NAE Committee on Minorities in Engineering, and vice chairman of the National Advisory Council on Minorities in Engineering.