March 14, 2011

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Charles R. "Mike" Michel, a member of WPI's Class of 1937 and a longtime trustee, died on Feb. 22, 2011, in Audubon, Penn., two days before his 96th birthday.

A native of Montclair, N.J., Michel earned a B.S. in chemistry from WPI, where he was a member of the basketball, football, swimming, tennis, and soccer teams, the Camera Club, and Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity.

After graduation, he took a job as a refinery operator with Atlantic Richfield Co. (now Arco). During World War II he served in the U.S. Navy as a flight instructor; he then returned to Arco as a junior analyst in the employment division. He rose through the ranks, becoming an assistant to the vice president of the Employee and Public Relations division in 1968, manager of operations in the Employee Relations and Information Systems division in 1970, and manager of the Organization and Compensation division in 1974. He retired in 1977.

Michel was elected to the WPI Board of Trustees in 1956 and served as an active trustee until 1969, when he was granted emeritus status. He was an active member of the WPI Alumni Association throughout his career, serving in several roles in the Philadelphia chapter. He also served terms as vice president (1955-56) and president (1956-58) of the overall association. In 1968 the association honored him with its Herbert F. Taylor Alumni Award for Distinguished Service to WPI.

In retirement, Michel volunteered his computer expertise to the Devon Manor Adult Day Care and Main Line Day Care centers, earning volunteer of the year awards at both facilities. He also volunteered for 10 years in the bookstore at the William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia.

Michel's wife, Tommy, passed away in 2002. He is survived by a daughter, son Douglas (a member of WPI's Class of 1971), two grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.