Edgar B. Boynton

Edgar B. Boynton

Mechanical Engineering
Class of 1921, BS

In addition to being named one of the first initiates to the Academy of Engineering Excellence, Edgar B. Boynton will also mark a very special occasion this April. He will be celebrating his 100th birthday.

Born in 1899, the young Boynton spent his first nine years in West Chicago, Illinois, a suburb of the Windy City, and then moved with his family to a dairy farm in Amelia County, Virginia.

One of his favorite hobbies as a boy was music. He started piano lessons when he was eight, but by the time he entered high school, his male counterparts considered his musical talents “sissyish” and he bowed to the peer pressure. When he enrolled in engineering studies at Virginia Tech, he knew he regretted his decision to completely abandon his musical inclinations, and he resurrected his talents. However, this time, he selected the clarinet and played it in the VPI Cadet Band for four years.

He graduated from mechanical engineering at 21, and he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery section of the Army Officer Reserve Corps. He also started his lifelong engineering career with Wiley and Wilson in June of 1921. In the fall of 1923, he entered graduate school at the University of Illinois, where he received his master’s degree in ME one year later. He then returned to Wiley and Wilson.

His engineering duties consisted principally of the design of heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems for buildings, and central heating systems and power plants for institutions. After a decade with the firm, he entered the management side, and shortly thereafter was named an associate. He helped to lead the firm through the Great Depression, and one of the company’s jobs at the time was the engineering work of Colonial Williamsburg.

In 1947, Mr. Boynton became a full partner in Wiley and Wilson. He stayed until Jan. 1, 1970 when he retired after almost 49 years with the company. He continued as a consultant, and remains a familiar face at the firm.

Mr. Boynton was the 68th engineer in Virginia to register as a Professional Engineer. He was the first recipient of the state’s “Engineer of the Year” award in 1961. In 1963, the American Institute of Consulting Engineers (AICE) chose him as its first member from Virginia. He was the recipient of the 1996 Virginia Tech College of Engineering Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Among his other honors include: former state President of the Virginia Society of Professional Engineers, fellow status in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, former National Director of the National Society of Professional Engineers, and a member of the Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board for 22 years until he retired in 1987.

Mr. Boynton and his wife of 57 years, Anne Elizabeth England, reside in Richmond. He formerly played golf, and they have done a great deal of traveling.

Class of: 1921
Year Inducted into Academy: 1999