R. Dean Dragsdorf.

1922 - 2010




Dean Dragsdorf joined our faculty shortly after receiving his PhD.  He spent his academic career as a member of the KSU Physics faculty and retired in 1988.  During his career he served the Department and University in many ways. In addition to being a Professor of Physics Dean served as Associate Dean and Interim Dean of the Graduate School. Dean mentored many graduate students who have had outstanding careers in science. He was also deeply involved in our undergraduate teaching program and taught General Physics for many years.


Certainly much of what our Department is today is a reflection of Dean's 40-year effort to help us reach excellence in physics teaching and research.

List of professional publications by Dean Dragsdorf from Google Scholar 

The following was provided by Dean's family.


R. Dean Dragsdorf, age 87, of Manhattan, Kansas, died Wednesday, February 3, 2010, at the Mercy Regional Health Center in Manhattan.

He was born on November 21, 1922, in Detroit, Michigan the son of Russell H. and Doris O. (Butwell) Dragsdorf.

Dr. Dragsdorf was a Professor of Physics at Kansas State University prior to his retirement in 1988. A native of Detroit, Dr. Dragsdorf earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1944 and his Ph.D. degree in 1948, both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He moved to Manhattan in 1948 where he joined the Kansas State faculty as an assistant professor of physics and was named a full professor in 1956. In 1956-57 he took leave from Kansas State to work as a research physicist with the Metals Research Laboratories of Union Carbide Metals Company, Niagara Falls, New York and in 1958 became a consultant for the Union Carbide Corporation. Returning to Kansas State he was named Associate Dean of the Graduate School in July of 1965 and served as Acting Dean from July 1966 until September 1966.

His professional memberships and honorary societies were extensive and included the American Physical Society, American Crystallographic Association, American Society of Metals, American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineering, Sigma Xi, Gamma Sigma Delta and Pi Mu Epsilon.

While at Kansas State Dr. Dragsdorf trained many students in X-ray diffraction and solid state physics and was a leader in establishing condensed matter physics as a research group in the Department of Physics. He served as a faculty senator and as a long-time member of the executive board of the Kansas State University Research Foundation. In addition to serving as an acting dean of the Graduate School he made numerous contributions to the smooth functioning of that school. He was the author or co-author of numerous professional publications, served on and chaired the Physical Science Subcommittee of the Graduate Council and served several terms on the Graduate Council. For many years he taught General Physics and is known to generations of students as a good teacher. He retired in 1988.

Dean served on the Grant Township Board and as a volunteer firefighter.

He was involved with several sports. He especially enjoyed bowling, sailing, rowing, golf, and tennis. Dean and Edna raised quarter horses for pleasure riding in the Flint Hills around Tuttle Creek Lake.

On February 1, 1948, in Long Island, New York, he was united in marriage to the former Edna L. Muller. She survives of their home. Also surviving is one son: Roger D. Dragsdorf and his wife Mitsue of Santa Clarita, California and one daughter: Ellen D. Volkel and her husband Bret of Manhattan, Kansas. He is also survived by four grandchildren: Emma L. Dragsdorf, Justin D. Volkel, Darren L.Volkel and his wife Brittany and Bryan A. Volkel.

Dr. Dragsdorf was preceded in death by his parents.

No local services are planned. Private graveside services will be held next week at the Acacia Park Cemetery in Beverly Hills, Michigan.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Kansas State University Foundation for the Dragsdorf Physics Scholarship Fund.