Daniel V. Terrell


Daniel V. Terrell

Educator – Highway Researcher – Professional Engineer

Teaching – Administration – Highways – Counseling

Thirty-eighth National Honor Member Nominated by the University of Kentucky Chapter & Elevated by the Society March 25, 1973

Daniel Voiers Terrell’s civil engineering career has been marked by distinguished and unceasing devotion to engineering education and the young men pursuing such education, extensive highway research accomplishments, and an outstanding leadership in the engineering profession. A man of unlimited talent, Dean Terrell had a great capacity to inspire students.

Born in a rural community near Bedford, Trimble County, Kentucky, the son of George W. Terrell and Mirah Chandler Terrell, his early training was in the now famous one-room school house. There was no high school in Trimble County at the time, and it was by the hard way, through self-study, courage, and examination, that he gained entrance to the then Kentucky State College, which later became the University of Kentucky. Entering the State College January 1, 1907, he was graduated from the University of Kentucky in June, 1910, with the degree of bachelor of civil engineering and in 1914, with the degree Civil Engineer. In 1954, Daniel V. Terrell was awarded an honorary doctor of engineering degree by the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in recognition of his pre-eminence in the field of engineering.

Following his graduation in 1910, he was employed by the Santa Fe Railroad and then by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.

In 1912, he returned to the University of Kentucky as an assistant professor of highway engineering. In 1914, Dean Terrell was married to Lula Mae Bitterman. To this union was born Claude B. Terrell and Daniel V. Terrell, Jr. Mrs. Terrell died in 1953, and Dean Terrell remarried in 1955 to Idie Lee Turner. In 1917, he was appointed professor and head of the Department of Civil Engineering, and in 1942, became assistant Dean of the College of Engineering. From 1946 until his retirement in 1957, he was Dean of the College of Engineering and director of the Kentucky Engineering Experiment Station.

After retirement from the University of Kentucky, Dean Terrell continued his part-time work with the Kentucky State Highway Department by organizing a statewide educational upgrading program for the department’s engineering employees and served as director of the program from 1957 to 1966. Forced out by age, Dean Terrell assumed work with the consulting firm, Brighton Engineering Company, of Frankfurt, Kentucky, from 1966 to 1971, when at the age of 85 he retired for the third time.

In his capacity as professor and dean, he made many significant contributions. Under his leadership, a wide program of basic and applied research was encouraged in all departments. He conceived the Engineering Experiment Station and developed it to a position of prominence among such organizations.

As a part of Dean Terrell’s service in connection with his duties at the university and because of his interest in highway engineering, he served the Kentucky Department of Highways in many capacities on a part-time basis, sometimes for compensation and sometimes without compensation, in order to stay within the law. Dean Terrell established, largely through his own efforts, the largest highway scholarship program in any state. This program was fully supported by the Kentucky Department of Highways.

In addition to his primary interest in engineering education, Dean Terrell engaged actively in research and testing of engineering materials and the development of highway engineering. In 1914, he established and conducted road conferences at the University of Kentucky and developed a plan for state aid to counties which formed the foundation for the Kentucky Department of Highways. As early as 1915, Dean Terrell operated a testing and research laboratory on the campus of the University of Kentucky, as a service to the highway department.

From 1942 until 1957, he was head of the Kentucky Department of Highways, Highway Research Laboratory, in Lexington. Dean Terrell served on many state and federal bodies as a highway authority and was responsible for many successful road programs.

Beyond his leadership in the fields of engineering education and research, Daniel V. Terrell contributed time and energy to the benefit of his profession. He was one of the leaders in the formulation and passage of the registration law for professional engineers in Kentucky. He was a past member of the Kentucky State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and the State Board of Registration of Architects.

He was a charter member of the Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers, and president of that organization in 1938-39. Dean Terrell was an active member of the American Society for Engineering Education since 1917 and was past president of the southeastern section.

Dean D. V. Terrell’s activities in the American Society of Civil Engineers have been nationwide and an inspiration as a Chi Epsilon member to those in which he came in contact. He served the society in many capacities since becoming an associate member in 1918 and a member in 1926. In 1921, D. V. Terrell established one of the early student chapters of the ASCE at the University of Kentucky. He was elected president of the Kentucky Section in 1938-39 and served his district as director of the society from 1947 to 1949. While director of District 9, Dean Terrell organized the District 9 Council and has provided for an annual plaque award for the best paper from any associate member from District 9 and on a selected subject. Dean Terrell was elected vice-president from Zone II and served in 1951 and 1952. Dean Terrell was elected to the presidency of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1954.

Dean Terrell was affiliated with Tau Beta Pi, Sigma XI, Omicron Delta Kappa, Triangle, masonic orders, Methodist Church, and was the first Chapter Honor Member of the University of Kentucky chapter of Chi Epsilon.

Daniel Voiers Terrell was nominated by the University of Kentucky, chapter no. 58, chartered in 1962, with a general number of 59. He was elevated by the Supreme Council as the 38th National Honor Member at the University of Kentucky on March 25, 1973.

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