September 23, 2015
The International Technology and Engineering Educators Association is saddened to announce the passing of its first Executive Director, Kenneth Edward Dawson, 88, on September 10, 2015, in Blacksburg, VA. Dawson was appointed by the American Industrial Arts Association (AIAA) as its first Executive Secretary-Treasurer in November of 1960. AIAA later changed its name to ITEA and ultimately ITEEA. Ken served in this position for six years as a leader and promoter of the profession in Washington, DC and nationally. His leadership was exemplary in promoting industrial arts education as an essential part of general education. Ken was influential in gaining support of many members of congress as well as other key decision makers around the country
Although born in Newark, OH, on May 3, 1927, Ken grew up in Pittsylvania County, VA. He graduated from Spring Garden High School in Chatham, VA in 1945. After serving in the Army from 1946 to 1948, he enrolled as an Industrial Arts Education major at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech), graduating in 1952. He taught industrial arts at Wytheville (VA) High School and Jefferson Senior High School in Roanoke, VA before returning to Virginia Tech in 1956 for three years as Assistant Professor of Industrial Arts Education. Ken received a Master of Education degree from the University of Virginia and a PhD under Dr. Donald Maley at the University of Maryland.
After leaving AIAA in 1966, Ken served later in many other important and distinguished positions such as:
- Dean of Education, Morehead State University (KY)
- Vice President of Academic Affairs, Atlanta Baptist College (GA)
- President, Southside Virginia Community College (VA)
- Director of Virginia 4-H Programs
- Professor of International Development, Virginia Tech
- Teacher of Sunday School for over 50 years
Ken’s leadership in our profession allowed industrial arts (in its day) to become recognized and respected across the United States. Ken, through his work with our association, gave us a clearer purpose of being and a dream for the future to educate all students through. He was a great man and an outstanding leader.
Prepared by William E. Dugger, Jr., Virginia Tech. Dr. Dugger is Senior Fellow, International Technology and Engineering Educators Association and Professor Emeritus, Virginia Tech University. Dr. Dugger is also a former student of Kenneth Dawson.
A recent interview with Kenneth Dawson can be viewed on ITEEA’s website under “The Legacy Project”.
ITEEA (www.iteea.org) is the professional organization for technology, innovation, design, and engineering educators. Its mission is to promote technological literacy for all by supporting the teaching of technology and promoting the professionalism of those engaged in these pursuits. ITEEA strengthens the profession through leadership, professional development, membership services, publications, and classroom activities.
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