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About

College Deans: Harley J. Nethken

1894-1901: Professor Herget
1901-1903: Harry Gwinner
1903-1907: R.W. Selvidge
1907-1910: William B. Hamilton
1910-1918: Frank Bogard
1918-1923: W. L. Mitchell 
1923-1937: Frank Bogard
1937-1938: J. T. Folk
1938-1940: E. C. Barrett
1940-1942: Roy T. Sessums
1942-1945: Harley J. Nethken
1945-1952: Roy T. Sessums
1952-1976: Ben Bogard
1976-1982: Jack Thigpen
1982-1987: C. Ray Wimberly
1987-1988: R. Michael Harnett
1988-1998: Barry Benedict
1998-2004: Leslie K. Guice
2004-2013: Stanley A. Napper

Harley J. Nethken was born on November 21st 1886 in Deer Park, Maryland. Early in Harley’s childhood his father died, leaving his mother to care for the family. Traveling by ox-cart, his mother moved the Nethken family from Maryland to Missouri in hopes of a better life. Financially unable to continue his education, Harley withdrew from school before completing the 8th grade and joined a wheat thrashing crew where he followed the wheat harvest from Mexico to Canada every year. As Harley worked through his childhood and became a young man, he continued to hold odd jobs until he completed trade school and accepted a job at Highland Park College to maintain their steam engines. Once at Highland Park College, Harley pursued an education and received a B.S. in Industrial Arts Education in 1913. After finishing his B.S., Harley traveled to Iowa State College and received his M.S. in Industrial Arts Education.

Harley J. Nethken joined Louisiana Polytechnic Institute faculty in 1925 as a professor of electrical engineering. During his service at Tech, Harley became the first department head of the electrical engineering department when mechanical/electrical engineering department was separated. In addition, he served as acting dean of the School of Engineering from 1942 to 1946. Harley J. Nethken retired in 1954, and left a lasting impression of his dedication and determination upon those who knew him.

Harley J. Nethken was a self-made man, and Tech is proud to have the honor of naming a building after such a great inspiration.