Ralph E. Fadum


Ralph E. Fadum

Professional Engineer – Educator – Consulting Engineer

Academic Administration – Teaching – Professional Organizations

Fortieth National Honor Member Nominated by the Purdue University

Ralph Eigel Fadum was born July 19, 1912, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Torgeir Bleken and Mimi Fadum. He graduated in 1935 from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in civil engineering. During the summer of 1935, he was with the Niagara-Hudson Power Corp., Niagara Falls, New York. He holds a M.S. and Sc. D. degrees from Harvard University. Purdue University awarded him a D. Engr. (Honorary) in 1963.

Early in his career, he worked during the summers only with W. P. Creager Consulting Engineers, Buffalo, New York; Chicago Bridge and Iron Company, Greenville, Pennsylvania; Dry Dock Associates, Portsmouth, Virginia; and Jackson and Moreland, Boston, Massachusetts, until 1942. His early part-time industrial experience included assignments such as: Assistant to Dr. A. Casagrande, Consulting Engineer, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1935-42 and Assistant to Dr. Karl Terzaghi, Consulting Engineer, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1939-41.

Positions he has held have included: Harvard University, from Assistant to Faculty Instructor, Civil Engineer, 1935-43; Purdue University, from Assistant Professor to Professor of Soil Mechanics, 1943-49; North Carolina State University, Professor and Head of Civil Engineering, 1949-62; North Carolina State University, Dean of Engineering, 1962-78.

In addition to his appointments at North Carolina State University, Dr. Fadum was active in many professional activities serving the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force, National Science Foundation, MIT, North Carolina Department of Natural and Economic Resources, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation. In 1967, Governor Moore appointed him Chairman of the North Carolina Water Control Advisory Council.

Dr. Fadum has served as Chairman, Faculty Athletics Committee North Carolina State University, 1961-73; President, Atlantic Coast Conference, 1966-67; and Vice-President, District 3, NCAA 1972-78. He was a Fellow in ASCE and has served on many committees in ASCE, ASEE, and ECPD.

He was a member of the following honorary societies: Tau Beta Pi, Chi Epsilon, Sigma Xi, Phi Eta Sigma, and Phi Kappa Phi. Dr. Fadum has been listed in: Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Engineering, Who’s Who in Southwest, American Men of Science, Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, Outstanding Educators of America, Leaders in Education, and Personalities of the South.

Some of the honors and awards that he has received are: Department of the Army – Certificate of Appreciation for Patriotic Civilian Service to the Department of the Army, 1967; Decoration for Meritorious Civilian Service, U.S. Army Mobility Command, 1967; Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, 1973; University of Illinois – Distinguished Alumnus Award of the Civil Engineering Department, 1969; North Carolina Society of Engineers – Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award, 1971; American Society of Civil Engineers, North Carolina Section – Outstanding Civil Engineer of North Carolina, 1971; and Election to the National Academy of Engineering, 1975.

Dr. Fadum was first elected to Chi Epsilon on May 2, 1945, at Purdue University, chapter no. 11, chartered in 1929, as a Chapter Honor Member with a general number of 3433 and an individual chapter number of 349. He was elevated at Purdue University on March 12, 1978, to be the 40th National Honor Member.

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