Mobile menu icon Close mobile navigation icon

Robert Sherwood Dorsey

Maker interview details

Profile image of Robert Sherwood Dorsey
See in Digital Archive

Sponsored by

National Science Foundation


  • March 14, 2005



  • Born: October 9, 1923
  • Birth Location: Lafayette, Louisiana


  • Favorite Color: Blue
  • Favorite Food: Spaghetti, Meat Sauce
  • Favorite Time of Year: Spring, Summer
  • Favorite Vacation Spot: Hilton Head, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

"You should change the problems that you can change and accept those you cannot change and then have the wisdom to know the differences."
See maker connections


Engineer Robert Sherwood Dorsey was born on October 9, 1923 in Lafayette, Louisiana. The son of Rita Starling Allen and Willie Dorsey, he graduated from Phillis Wheatley High School in Houston, Texas. Enrolling in Prairie View College in 1941, Dorsey volunteered for the U.S. Army Reserves and studied engineering. Drafted into the segregated U.S. Army, Dorsey served in the 92nd Infantry Division and worked as a water purification specialist for a combat engineering battalion. Honorably discharged in March of 1946, Dorsey eventually enrolled at Ohio State University where he excelled at football and earned his B.S. degree in 1949 in mechanical engineering.

Hired by General Electric, Dorsey helped develop the engines used in airplanes like the B-1, B-2, F-14, F-16, and F-18. He also participated in the joint venture between GE and French company SNECMA which created the CFM56 engines used in many commercial jets. After leaving GE in 1987, Dorsey worked with Belcan, a consulting firm, analyzing problems associated with military engines.

Ohio State University awarded Dorsey the Distinguished Football Alumnus Award and he has also received awards from the NCAA and the Cincinnati chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. An inductee into Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, and Pi Tau Sigma, the international mechanical engineering honor society, Dorsey was also a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. He served on the board of trustees for the Ohio State University and as the president of the National Alumni Association of the Ohio State University.

Dorsey was married to Helena Fredericka Harris and they had three daughters. Dorsey passed away on February 11, 2011.

Previews from the Digital Archive


Watch the full interview in the Digital Archive