Bruce Berdanier, current dean of the School of Engineering at Fairfield University and former department head for civil and environmental engineering at South Dakota State University, has been named dean of the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering. Berdanier’s appointment comes following a national search to replace Lew Brown who will retire this summer.
“Dr. Berdanier is a proven leader with a strong record of significant accomplishments throughout his professional career,” said Dennis Hedge, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We are excited to have him lead our college of engineering and build on the solid foundation of teaching and research that has prepared thousands of students over the years to achieve their goals, while supporting an ever-changing industry that relies on the knowledge created in the college. Bruce will be a leader that provides great value to our university and to our engineering industry partners throughout the region and beyond.”
Berdanier has served as dean of engineering at Fairfield since July 2013. As the chief academic officer for the school, he has led the development of a new bachelor’s degree in bioengineering, relocation of the computer science program from the College of Arts and Sciences and the development of multiple five-year bachelor’s and master’s degree options. Berdanier has raised external funding for multiple projects, including a new machine laboratory, a materials characterization laboratory, a network system lab and the development of an applied research laboratory.
“I am honored to be named the next dean of such a prestigious college of engineering,” Berdanier said. “It is exciting for my wife, Melinda, and I to come back to the Brookings community and a university that played such an important role in my professional career. I plan to continue the momentum that is currently in place within the college under the leadership of Dr. Brown, his administrative team, the faculty and students.
“The challenges that lie ahead will require the type of strategic leadership that creates opportunities in ways that build on those previous accomplishments and takes the college to another level,” Berdanier added. “I look forward to joining the other leaders at SDSU and meeting that challenge.”
Berdanier served as department head at SDSU from August 2008 until he left for Fairfield in 2013. While in Brookings, he managed nearly $1 million in sponsored research and developed and acquired two National Science Foundation proposals that included laboratory research equipment and a collaboration for a pre-engineering curriculum at the Oglala Lakota Tribal College. He also created the nationally recognized Engineers Without Borders student chapter that developed a clean drinking water system for a remote university in Bolivia.
Previous to his first appointment at SDSU, Berdanier held positions of associate professor at Ohio Northern University and assistant professor at South Dakota School of Mines. He was an owner of Village Engineering Ltd., from 1991 through 2007. Berdanier earned his Ph.D. in environmental engineering and hydrogeology from The Ohio State University, a master’s in environmental engineering from Purdue University and his bachelor’s in water resources from Ohio State. He will start his new position on July 2.