Wiley D. Poole Memorial Scholarship

Angela Singleton, Thomas, Daniel L.  |  6/1/2006 9:20:09 PM

Wiley D. Poole 1913 - 1990

Wiley D. Poole was a faculty member of the Agricultural Engineering Department at Louisiana State University from 1939 to 1976. This scholarship was made possible by a generous donation from his widow, Mrs. Esler Poole, and gifts from friends and colleagues.

Wiley Poole was born October 5, 1913, in Bunkie, Louisiana. He attended Bunkie Public School where he graduated as salutatorian. As a young man, he participated in athletics, including boxing, football and tennis. He also broke and trained horses for a neighboring plantation, worked as a mechanic at a service station, and hunted and fished with his Dad. (Fishing would prove to be a life-long avocation for him.)

Wiley worked as a machinist for Esso Standard Oil Company from 1932 until he enrolled into LSU in 1935. He earned a B.S. in Engineering from LSU in 1938 followed by an M.S. in Engineering in 1941. In 1939, he was employed by the LSU Agricultural Engineering Department as a research and design engineer. During the World War II years, he designed and tested various types of mechanical equipment as a civilian employee of the Army Air Force. He returned to LSU in 1945 and rose through the academic ranks to Professor, the rank he held until his retirement at the end of 1976.

Wiley's professional career spanned many changes in technologies used for the production and processing of food. He caused some of the many changes through his innovative engineering concepts, designs and machine development and testing. Among his many credits were engineering innovations in the way sweet potatoes were harvested and stored. He was a leader in the design, construction and testing of the ancestors of today's sweet potato harvesters and his use of refrigeration, heating and ventilation systems pioneered the automated sweet potato curing and storage buildings in use today. He was the innovator for many other engineering advancements in structural design and horticultural crop production including mechanization research for bell pepper and strawberry production. Machines he developed or experimented with include a machine for laying plastic mulch for horticultural crops, horticultural root and bulb crop harvesters, a crawfish peeling machine, and pesticide application equipment. He was awarded three patents and assisted many others in obtaining patent coverage. He served in a role that was, at that time, loosely called the "experiment station engineer" providing engineering design services and consultation for the farm and research facilities of the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station.

Wiley Poole was an excellent teacher who touched the lives of countless students. He was a well-organized teacher with very thorough and complete notes. A former colleague stated that "Wiley had the best set of course notes of any of the faculty."

Wiley fell victim to a serious illness in 1961-62. But, he did not waste time during his recovery; he taught himself how to play the guitar.

Throughout his professional career, Wiley had a strong interest in worker safety. Even during his days at Esso and during the Army Air Force work, safety meetings, seminars and training were topics of interest to him. He later served as safety coordinator for the Agricultural Engineering Department from 1956 until his retirement. He also served as the first Safety Engineer and Safety Committee Chairman for the LSU Center for Agricultural Sciences and Rural Development (now the LSU Agricultural Center) from 1975 until his retirement.

Upon retirement, Wiley devoted full-time to mechanical and agricultural consulting involving machine operation problems and failures, structural failures, refrigeration and air handling equipment, and machine operational safety. He consulted as an engineering expert in at least thirteen states. He was thoroughly knowledgeable of the OSHA safety standards and those adopted by other organizations such as ANSI, ASAE, and SAE.

Wiley Poole was truly a professional. He was a registered Professional Engineer and active in both the American Society of Agricultural Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers on the local, state and national levels. He was also an active member of many safety-related organizations and was a Certified Safety Specialist Engineer.

In addition to being an accomplished engineer, Wiley was a religious man and a family man. He devoted his life to reducing the human drudgery associated with food production and he was dedicated to doing it safely. No greater tribute can be given.

This scholarship is to commemorate the life and career of Wiley Poole, an engineer and a humanitarian who championed engineering innovation, education, research, and safety in the mechanical world.

The Wiley D. Poole Memorial Scholarship is given annually (February) to an outstanding sophomore, junior or senior with a minimum GPA of 3.0, a full-time student and is also based on financial need.  The student must be a U.S. citizen.  Contact your undergraduate advisor for an application.
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