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K-State Today

April 17, 2023

K-State loses longest-tenured dean of engineering

Submitted by Grant Guggisberg

Donald Rathbone

Donald Rathbone, former dean of the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering at Kansas State University, died April 11 in Manhattan. He was 94 years old.

During his 24 years at K-State, Rathbone oversaw year-over-year growth in enrollment and research expenditures while adding in-demand degree programs to the college's portfolio. He more than doubled undergraduate enrollment for the college and tripled the number of graduate students. He also focused on increasing scholarship awards for top-achieving students, which helped K-State engineering become the premier engineering school in the state. Additionally, he helped create the college's Multicultural Engineering Program and led fundraising efforts to build Durland Phases I, II and III. Phase II of the project, Rathbone Hall, was named in his honor.

After his retirement from K-State in 1997, Rathbone remained active in both the Manhattan and K-State communities.

"Through his vision and tireless efforts on behalf of students, faculty and staff, Don set a standard of excellence that continues today," said Matt O'Keefe, dean and LeRoy C. and Aileen H. Paslay chair in engineering. "He has impacted the lives of thousands of engineering students over the years, and he leaves a legacy for all of us to aspire to as we work to educate the next generation of K-State engineers."

Rathbone's funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 19, at First Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. Additional obituary information can be found online.

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