Bruce Berdanier, the Jerome J. Lohr Endowed Dean of South Dakota State University’s Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering, has announced he will be leaving the position.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dennis Hedge has named Rajesh Kavasseri, associate dean of research for the college, to serve in the role on an interim basis.
“Dean Berdanier has been a strong and effective leader for the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering. Bruce will certainly be missed, but we are very supportive of his decision,” Hedge said. “The college has experienced a great deal of success under his leadership and the momentum created will be a tremendous asset to us as we move forward. I can’t thank Bruce enough for all that he has done.”
Berdanier came to State as dean in July 2018 after serving five years as dean at Fairfield (Connecticut). He was SDSU’s head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 2008-2013. He held an associate professor role at Ohio Northern University and was an assistant professor at South Dakota Mines. He also was the city engineer in Shelby, Ohio, and owner of Krocka and Associates and Village Engineering before entering higher education.
Several of Berdanier’s accomplishments as dean are:
- Program accreditations by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology in the areas of construction management, operations management, electrical engineering technology, computer science, agricultural and biosciences engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering
- Implemented a new B.S. degree in concrete industry management
- Created stand-alone doctoral programs in agricultural and biosciences engineering, mechanical engineering and computer science
- Oversaw the investiture of the first Duane Sander Endowed Professor of Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- Raised funding and pledges for multiple new endowed professorships
“I aspired for years to be the dean of the Lohr College of Engineering. When I finally arrived, I was greeted by faculty and staff who were eager to pursue growth in engineering research. I was also engaged by industry, the research park at SDSU, the Growth Partnership and alumni who understood the value and need for workforce development. Everyone’s support and faith in me have made this the best higher education job I ever had,” Berdanier said.
“My wife and I feel our family really need our support right now, and I am fortunate I can take this opportunity to help them,” he continued. “The Lohr College of Engineering will continue to attract great leaders due to the strength of the faculty research and the high market demand for engineering workforce development. The position is quite prestigious due to the financial support from the naming and endowment along with all of the other alumni donations.”
A national search for Berdanier’s replacement will begin this spring.