While still an undergraduate, Fr. Beckman entered the Jesuit order in August 1943 and was ordained in 1956. Before being ordained, Fr. Beckman earned a License of Philosophy and a master’s degree in history from Loyola University of Chicago. He also earned his License of Theology in 1957.
For most of his life, Fr. Beckman taught in Peru. For 15 years he was president or principal of Colegio San Jose in Arequipa, Peru, a primary and secondary school that served about 1,000 boys. He also was professor of theology at Instituto Superior de Catequesis in Lima.
In 1980 he returned to Cincinnati and was appointed rector of Xavier, a position he held until 1986, when he left to return to Peru. In 1986 a $100,000 scholarship was created to honor him and his brother, John “Jack” Beckman, S.J. Also, Beckman’s brothers, Vincent H. Beckman and Paul C. Beckman, and sister, Irene Leverone, together pledged $1 million to establish the Beckman Chair in Theology to honor Robert Beckman and their other brother John.
Beckman leaves behind 13 nieces and nephews and their spouses, 30 great nieces and nephews and their spouses, and nine great-great nieces and nephews.