Fred J. Benson
Fred J. Benson
Engineering Educator – Administrator – Highway Engineer
Research Foundation – Experiment Station – Teaching – Consulting
Forty-ninth National Honor Member Nominated by the Texas A&M University Chapter
Dean Fred J. Benson began his service to out profession in 1936 as an instructor at Purdue University. When he retired in August 1980, he was Deputy Chancellor for Engineering for the Texas A&M University System and Vice-President of the Texas A&M University Research Foundation.
Fred Benson, born in Grainfield, Kansas, held a B.S. in C.E. from Kansas State University, 1935, and an M.S. in C.E. from Texas A&M University, 1936. His military service was with the U.S. Naval Reserve, Civil Engineers Corps, 1943-73, Ensign to Captain (Active Duty 1943-46; Reserve Duty, 1946-73).
His career positions at Texas A&M University included: Instructor to Professor, 1937-55; Executive Officer, Texas Transportation Institute, 1955-62; Dean of Engineering, 1957-78; Director, Texas Engineering Experiment Station, 1959-80; and Vice-President, Texas A&M Research Foundation, 1963-80. Many of his friends and hundreds of former students continued affectionately and respectfully to call him “Dean” long after he no longer officially held that title.
His professional interests included Highway Engineering, Urban Engineering, Soil Mechanics, Educational Administration, Financial Institutions, and Construction. Dean Benson was a leader in engineering education for many years, contributing and implementing new approaches toward improving the educational process. He wrote and spoke much on the need for professional schools of engineering. Many professional societies including ASCE, American Public Works Association, TSPE, and NSPE benefited from his service on various committees.
Fred Benson was a registered Professional Engineer in Texas. He served as Chairman of the State Board of Examiners for Professional Engineers and with the Uniform Examinations and Qualifications Committee, National Council of Engineering, Examiners.
His numerous awards and honors include: Texas Section, ASCE Award of Honor, 1985; Wilbur S. Smith ASCE Award in Highway Engineering, 1984; Honorary Doctor of Engineering Degree, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, 1980; Honorary Member, ASCE, 1979; Tasker H. Bliss Award, American Society of Military Engineers, 1974; Edmund Friedman Professional Recognition Award, ASCE, 1973; and Distinguished Service Award, Highway Research Board, 1967. He is listed in Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who in America, and Leaders in American Science.
Dean Benson was first elected to Chi Epsilon in 1962 at Texas A&M, Chapter No. 56, chartered in 1962, with a general number of 16,127 and a chapter number of 57. That chapter elevated him to Chapter Honor Member on May 1, 1984. The Supreme Council was privileged to elevate Fred J. Benson to be the 49th National Honor Member of Chi Epsilon on March 14, 1992, at Texas A&M University during the 32nd National Conclave.