University programs are people and when I reflect on my days at Purdue, both as a doctoral student and a young professor, I think of people - people like Denver Sams, Max Eddy, Daniel Housholder, Joe Carrell, and George McNelly. Much of the success that I have enjoyed in my career as a university professor and administrator has its roots in these men and in the School of Technology at Purdue.
Richard Erickson
Industrial Education '66
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Richard Erickson

Industrial Education '66
Manager for Erickson Properties

Throughout his long career, Richard "Dick" Erickson focused on teaching and teach-education. When Purdue's School of Technology was formed in 1964, he was appointed instructor and ultimately associate professor of industrial education. At Northern Illinois University, he designed a new doctoral degree program in industry and technology education.

In 1977, he accepted the chairmanship of the Department of Practical Arts and Vocational-Technical Education, College of Education, University of Missouri-Columbia. Throughout his tenure as chair, the department's graduate programs ranked in the top five university vocational/technical educational programs in the U.S. He served in this position until 1992, when, at age 57, he elected to take early retirement.

Erickson's family includes his wife, Nan; two daughters, Deborah and Kimberly; a son, Sean; and two granddaughters, Caitlin and Bethany. He enjoys crafting presents for his granddaughter' birthdays and at Christmas.

Shortly after retirement, Erickson was diagnosed with Wegener's Granulomatosis. a rare autoimmune disease for which there is no known cause or cure. Fortunately, treatments have been developed that can bring this fatal disease into remission. For the past 10 years, he has been fighting Wegener's; and, in between its flare-ups and two hip replacements, he has managed to have a pretty active retirement.

Active to say the least. His primary activity is managing Erickson Properties. He remains an active golfer, fisherman, and captain of the Strokesavers, a faculty and staff golf league; serves on the board of electrical examiners for the City of Columbia; established the Mildred Dorow Erickson Scholarship for St. John Lutheran Home, and annually reviews and selects each year's recipient; and is vice president and board member of the Wegener's Granulomatosis Association (WGA).

Professional writings include research reports and journal articles focusing primarily on teach-education topics. He is co-author of the teacher-education textbook Measuring Student Growth: Techniques and Procedures in Occupational Education.

After a rewarding career, Erickson is really enjoying the pleasures of retirement. More leisure time also has allowed him to return to his first love - designing and creating in wood, metal, and clay. As he says about this stage of his life, "Everyday is Saturday."

This was originally written for the Distinguished Technology Alumni Awards in 2003.