Dr. Victor C. Alderson

PE Hall of Fame Class of 2022

Dr. Victor C. Alderson, a pioneer educator in the oil and gas industry, founded Mines’ Petroleum Engineering Department in 1921-1922. He was Mines’ only two-term president, serving from 1903 to 1913 and 1917 to 1925.

The Mines campus went through substantial growth during Alderson’s terms. The power house and assay laboratory were built in 1905, Guggenheim Hall in 1906, the Gym in 1909 and the experimental plant in 1912.  He was a controversial figure, allegedly interfering in the sphere of faculty duties and allowing students who staged a strike demanding a holiday break to return to the classroom.

Alderson was a pioneer in both petroleum education and the petroleum industry—he developed Oil Shale and Oil Shale retorting and wrote one of the first textbooks on the topic. He was also involved in industry as chairman of the Denver Chamber of Commerce Oil Shale Committee in the 1920s, the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers, the Institute of Petroleum Technology, American Social Science Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science and Phi Beta Kappa.

When not teaching at Mines, he was a consulting engineer. He also was president of the Winnemucca, Nevada Mountain Mining Company.

Alderson received an honorary doctorate from Mines in 1938 and was recognized for his contributions with the construction of Alderson Hall in 1953. He died in 1948.