Prof. Theodore Edward Leinhardt (Sept. 8, 1921 - May 20, 1988) was born in Gretna, Louisiana.
After graduating from high school there in 1938, he moved to New Orleans where he studied accounting by attending night classes, first at the Soulé Business College (1938-1939), then at the Tulane College of Commerce (1940-1942), all the while working full time during the day.
Starting from 1942-43, Ted served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps School in radio communications and radio interception.
After receiving his discharge from the Army as Master Sergeant in 1945, he was admitted to the Louisiana Polytechnic Institute in 1946.
He first majored in Machine Engineering, and then switched to Physics and Mathematics, earning his BS degree in 1950.
Ted then went on to Louisiana State University in 1950 to pursue graduate studies in solid-state physics.
He earned his MS degree in 1952, and his Ph.D. in June 1956.
His thesis work involved the measurement of the Hall effect in Bismuth at high magnetic fields and low temperatures, which were critical to later experiments on the quantized Hall effect.
While at LSU, Ted met Virginia "Dolly" Guzzardo from New Orleans in 1950, whom he married in 1952, and with whom he would have three children.
After receiving his Ph.D., Ted worked briefly (1956-1957) for the Sperry Gyroscope Company in Greatneck, Long Island, NY, before being hired to join the VT Physics Department in January 1958 by then Department Head T. Marshall Hahn.
During his early years at Tech, Ted created a research program in low temperature physics as the school made its transition to a research university under Hahn's leadership who became VT President in 1962.
Prof. Ted Leinhardt teaching mechanics
Ted was a member of the American Physical Society and the Southeastern Section American Physical Society, as well as Sigma Xi. His fields of interest were experimental solid-state physics and biophysics, and some of his research was supported by the Atomic Energy Commission. Ted also served on the University's Pre-Medical, Veterinary and Dental Committee for a number of years, and as Associate Department Head from 1981 to 1982.
Ted loved his work and his students, and his students loved him back with equal passion. He taught solid-state physics for 30 years until 1988 when he retired, and died of a heart attack shortly thereafter.
In 1990, this scholarship was established in Professor Leinhardt's memory by family members. Late Prof. Richard Allen Arndt (January 3, 1933 - April 10, 2010) also donated the prize money of his 1990 Alumni Research Award to the Leinhardt Scholarship fund (Roanoke Times, April 6, 1990).