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John L. Wiersma

John Wiersma
John L. Wiersma

Distinguished Engineer

Hometown: Volga

B.S. Agricultural Engineering ,
M.S. Agricultural Engineering ,

John Wiersma became a math instructor at South Dakota State College after earning his B.S. in agricultural engineering from SDSC. He worked as an engineer with the U.S Agriculture Department’s Soil Conservation Service in South Dakota for a short time. After joining the faculty of the Agricultural Engineering Department at SDSC in 1946, he received his master’s degree from SDSC. He became a full professor in 1958 and was the first director of the Water Resources Institute at SDSU from 1965 to 1983 as well as remaining a professor. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis in 1970. His influence on water issues in South Dakota was well recognized throughout the state. Wiersma guided and cultivated a program of education and research that produced over 300 reports addressing water quality problems in South Dakota and the Missouri River Basin. His leadership stimulated the development of a program to address pollution of water quality in the 1970s and established the basis for programs of water quality improvement. He also authored the technical information and design criteria for the development of an extensive network of rural water systems in the state.