Obituary: Salvatore P. Sutera, former engineering dean, professor emeritus, 90

Sal Sutera

Salvatore P. Sutera, former dean of the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis and the Spencer T. Olin Emeritus Professor, died Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, in St. Louis. He was 90.

For more than 40 years, Sutera was an academic leader at what was then the School of Engineering & Applied Science, serving as the school’s dean from 2008 to 2010, and was an internationally recognized scholar in biomechanics. He and his collaborators made many contributions to the understanding of blood flow in the mammalian microcirculation, flow-induced trauma to blood in artificial organs, and mechanical properties of the red blood cell in health and disease.

Under his leadership as dean, the school set new records in the quality, size and diversity of the student body. Sutera recruited faculty and oversaw the launch of several new master’s programs and interdisciplinary undergraduate minors. Perhaps the most visible development during his tenure as dean was the construction of Stephen F. & Camilla T. Brauer Hall.

Sutera joined the faculty at Washington University in 1968 as a professor of mechanical engineering and served as chair of mechanical engineering from 1968 to 1982, then again from 1985 to 1997. After the university created the Department of Biomedical Engineering in 1996, Sutera also served as the founding and acting chair of biomedical engineering during the department’s first year.

Sutera is survived by his wife, Celia; brother, Tom; daughters Marie (Bob) Woodruff; Annette Sutera; and Michelle (Danny) Ludwig; four grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

A memorial Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Nov. 25, with visitation from 9-10 a.m., at Immacolata Catholic Parish, 8900 Clayton Road, Richmond Heights, Mo.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Sutera Family Endowed Scholarship for Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis.

Read the full obituary on the McKelvey School of Engineering website.

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