Elected in 1987
“For outstanding contributions to the application of fluid mechanics, and for exceptional professional leadership in advancing engineering education in Africa.”
BY ROSS E. MCKINNEY
JOHN S. MCNOWN, former dean of engineering and Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Kansas (KU), died on February 19, 1998.
John was born on January 15, 1916, in Lawrence, Kansas, a short walk from the KU campus. His father, W.C. McNown, was a professor of civil engineering, and John grew up in an academic engineering environment. After graduating from Lawrence High School, John entered the School of Engineering at KU, where he developed an interest in hydraulic engineering. After receiving his B.S. in civil engineering in 1936, he continued his studies at the University of Iowa and received his M.S. in hydraulic engineering in 1937. He then moved to the University of Minnesota, where he was an instructor and doctoral student. He received his Ph.D. in hydraulic engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1942.
After working for a year as a research associate at the University of California on war-related projects, he joined the faculty of the University of Iowa as an assistant professor of mechanics and hydraulics and associate director of the Institute of Hydraulic Research. While at Iowa, he worked with Hunter Rouse. In 1950, on a Fulbright Fellowship, John studied and conducted research in Grenoble, France. After a very productive year there, he received a D.Sc. from the University of Grenoble. During that year, he also refined and modified his approach to engineering education.