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Van Erdewyk named to Academic Hall of Fame

October 2, 2020

Dr. Zeno Van Erdewyk
Dr. Zeno Van Erdewyk has been chosen as the 2020 Academic Hall of Fame inductee.

Former Dakota State University president Dr. Jerry Tunheim once charged the professors with a mission: to demonstrate that DSU teaching faculty were alive and well professionally.

Dr. Zeno Van Erdewyk took that to heart, and added consulting and conference presentations to his body of works as a DSU professor in the College of Education. After 37 years at DSU, his former colleagues deemed his career so significant that he has been chosen as the 2020 Academic Hall of Fame inductee.

Tom Farrell wrote in his nomination letter that “it is with deep respect that through his years of teaching, research, scholarship, and service, that Dr. Zeno Van Erdewyk truly is the Trojan that we all can be proud of.”

Van Erdewyk presented 27 papers in 13 years alone, consulted worldwide, and was a visiting scholar at the English International College in Marbella, Spain. He spent a year in London with his family, “[opening] doors to DSU students to experience student teaching in another country,” said Dr. Vicki Sterling.

Educational trips were another part of his professional life. He took about 275 students, faculty, alumni and others on 15 trips to Europe and Washington, and directed an exchange program with the Japanese Tamagawa University for 18 years. He was also one of the first to teach in the computer arena even prior to the mission change.

He retired in 2004, and throughout his career, “I’ve had experiences like you wouldn’t believe,” Van Erdewyk said, including being hijacked on a plane back from a conference in the Caribbean in 1988. “We were only delayed a day,” he shrugged.

Van Erdewyk is also an alumnus of Dakota State, graduating with a B.S. in math and science in 1959. After earning master’s and doctoral degrees, he returned to Madison to teach general psychology and classroom management for almost four decades. During this time, he estimates he taught between 13,000 and 14,000 students, including his wife, Carol, their four children and one grandchild, and many children of his colleagues.

“His desire to return to his alma mater and dedicate the majority of his professional career to Dakota State speaks volumes of his commitment to Dakota State,” Farrell stated.

The recognition of the Academic Hall of Fame award was “humbling,” he said, and attributes all his accomplishments to the support and encouragement given by Carol, his wife of 55 years. She died in 2016.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, plans are to recognize Van Erdewyk and the 2021 inductee in the spring, in a ceremony at the Karl Mundt Library.

The Academic Hall of Fame was initiated in 2018 to bring greater visibility to scholarly work at DSU and to foster a collegiate environment that celebrates achievement in research and creative works, archived in the Beadle Scholar Institutional Repository. Dr. Clyde Brashier was the first inductee, in the spring of 2019. To nominate a candidate for the 2021 Hall of Fame, there is a form on the DSU website.

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