John then returned to the University of Iowa, where he remained until 1954, when he left to become a professor of engineering mechanics at the University of Michigan. In 1957, after only three years at Michigan, he was asked to become dean of engineering at KU by Chancellor Franklin Murphy, whose ideas for modernizing engineering education dovetailed with John’s. Unfortunately, because of differences of opinion between Chancellor Murphy and Kansas Governor George Docking, Murphy resigned in 1960, just as progress was beginning to show. The new chancellor, Clarke Wescoe, did not have the same vision for the School of Engineering.
John wanted to create a first-class engineering research facility at KU that would not be hampered by bureaucratic red tape. In 1962, he was instrumental in the creation of the Center for Research in Engineering Sciences (CRES) in the Center for Research, Incorporated. However, frustrated with the rate of development of engineering research and change in engineering education, he resigned as dean of engineering in 1965 and rejoined the faculty as the Albert P. Learned Professor of Civil Engineering.
Based on his experience as an administrator, John then turned his attention to international engineering education, especially in Africa, where he recognized that well-educated engineers could help raise the standard of living for millions of people. In 1973, John married a Swedish national, Eva Fernqvist, and began to split his time between the United States and Sweden. He became an expert in international engineering education, and, in 1983, he retired from KU and moved to Sweden.
Hydraulic research was John’s passion, and teaching was his family heritage. The American Society of Civil Engineers recognized the value of John’s research by awarding him the J.C. Stevens Prize in 1946, Walter L. Huber Engineering Research Prize in 1949, and J. James R. Croes Medal in 1955. As a dean of engineering, John was asked to serve on an advisory panel for the National Science Foundation (1957–1960) and the Engineers Council for Professional Development (1960–1965). In 1967, he became a member of the Overseas Liaison Committee for the American Council on Education in both Nairobi and Washing-