Dr. Wendell H. Nedderman
Dr. Wendell H. Nedderman
Dr. Wendell H. Nedderman

Hometown: Lavilia, Iowa

Military Branch: Navy

Years Served: 1943-1946

Rank: Engineering Officer

Honors: Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon (6 Stars), Philippine Liberation Ribbon (2 Stars), Scabbard and Blade Military Honor Society, UTA Military Science Hall of Honor

Conflicts: World War II

UTA Affiliation: President;Dean, College of Engineering


Dr. Nedderman is a native of Iowa and was born in 1921. He graduated from Lovilia High School and earned a B.S. in Civil engineering from Iowa State University in 1943. From there he immediately joined the Navy and was sent to the U.S. Naval Academy’s Reserve Midshipman’s School. During World War II, Dr. Nedderman served as Engineering Officer aboard the Destroyers USS Patterson and USS Charles S. Sperry. By 1946, he had earned the Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon with six stars and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two stars.

After his discharge from the Navy, Dr. Nedderman took a position as Instructor of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M and obtained his Master’s Degree in 1949. He obtained his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Iowa State University in 1951 while on leave from A&M. His twelve year tenure at A&M culminated as Graduate Advisor of the Department of Civil Engineering and as Professor.

Based on his accomplishments, he was selected as the first Dean of Engineering at The University of Texas at Arlington. This faith was more than justified when he phased in five engineering B.S. programs by 1965; five M.S. programs phased in from 1966 to 1969 and received authorization to commence the Ph.D. in Engineering in 1969. During the two year period 1967 to 1969, Dr. Nedderman actually held three positions simultaneously as a Vice President; Graduate School Administrator; and Dean of the School of Engineering. Recognition of his talents resulted in his appointment as Acting University President in November 1972 and official confirmation as University President in February 1974.

During Dr. Nedderman’s tenure as University President, 21 Baccalaureate, 27 Masters, and 17 Doctoral degree programs were added. The value of the University Plant (land, buildings, improvements, equipment, and library books) increased from $51,637,610 to $279,969,268. Enrollment increased by over 10,000 students during his Presidency.

In 1976, Dr. Nedderman was inducted into the Scabbard and Blade Military Honor Society. The Hall of Honor concept was fully supported by Dr. Nedderman and came to fruition during the 1980 Spring Semester. He was inducted into the Hall of Honor in 1992. His steadfast belief in Corps traditions led to his participation in the development and execution of the Corps Advisory Council on January 21, 1981.

During both Desert Shield and Desert Storm Operations, Dr. Nedderman supported his students’ commitment to their country. His guidance cut through red tape so administrative procedures dealt with each student on a case-by-case basis to ensure courses were completed with credit and next semester prepayments were refunded rapidly.

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Interview Date: April 30, 2013


Dr. Nedderman’s Naval career during World War II included service on the USS Patterson as an ensign officer for 13 months at the height of operations in the Western Pacific. He participated in The Saipan Operation, the Marianas, the Battle for Leyte Gulf at the Philippines, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and witnessed kamikaze strikes on at least 10 ships. Dr. Nedderman recalls his early years in Iowa on a farm and later at Iowa State University before his military service, then relates his entry into the field of higher education as instructor of civil engineering at Texas A&M University. He became the first Dean of the College of Engineering at UTA, then Arlington State College, and finally President of the University of Texas at Arlington in 1974.

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