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Dan H. Pletta Papers,

Identifier: Ms-1982-006

Scope and Contents

Collection includes treatises, transcripts of talks and correspondence dealing with all aspects of the field of engineering, but especially with the role of education in producing a professional engineer, qualifications for practice, the public purpose of engineering, ethics, and whistleblowing. Other topics include the Department of Engineering at Virginia Tech, the American Society of Civil Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, the Virginia Society of Professional Engineers, and the Order of Engineers.


  • 1958 - 1996


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials. Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Biographical Note

Dan H. Pletta was educated at University of Illinois (B.S., 1927; C.E., 1938) and University of Wisconsin (M.S., 1931) with additional graduate study at Columbia. He was professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Virginia Tech (1932-72) and department head from 1958-70. As department head he guided the development of that department until it emerged as a leader in related graduate study and research. He was one of the original five University Distinguished Professors appointed in 1970 and Professor Emeritus upon his retirement in 1972. Besides teaching, his experience included design and construction in civil engineering, consulting as a stress analyst, and World War II service as an Ordinance Officer and as an instructor at the U. S. Military Academy.

Pletta's awards include an Engineering News Record Citation for Service to the construction industry, Engineer-of-the-Year Award of the Virginia Society of Professsional Engineers, and Alumni Honor Award for Distinguished Service from the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois. In1987 he received the Distinguished Service Award of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). In 1988 Virginia Tech awarded him its Ruffner Medal for notable and distinguished service ot the university, and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Mechanics Division conferred its distinguished educator award on him.

He served on the National Boards of Direction of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and of the NSPE; as president of their Virginia affiliates; and on many committees of these and other engineering societies. He was chairman of the ASCE Committee on Professional Conduct charged with enforcing its Code of Ethics. He was chairman of the Professional Engineers in Education Practice Division and vice president of NSPE in 1977-78. He was chairman (1982-85) of the NSPE Public Advisory Review Board which serves as the Society's ombudsman for its members when disputed issues involve health and safety. Hewas honorary member of the ASCE and founding member of the American Academy of Mechanics.

Pletta was author of Engineering Statics and Dynamics (Ronald Press, 1951), Engineering Mechanics, Part I Statics, Part II Dynamics (Ronald Press, 1964), The Engineering Profession: Its Heritage and Its Emerging Purpose (1984) and numerous articles in technical journals (1952-82).


16 Cubic Feet (16 boxes)

Physical Access

Please note: This collection is located in storage and requires 2-3 days notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Source of Acquisition

The first accession was given to Special Collections by Dan H. Pletta, Blacksburg, Virginia in 1982. The second accession was received from the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Virginia Tech in 1996.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Dan H. Pletta Papers by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

The original order in which Dan H. Pletta arranged the file folders was retained. The original file folder titles also were retained. This order is not always either choronological or alphabetical.

A Guide to the Dan H. Pletta Papers, 1954-1996
2010 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Edition statement
Created from HTML inventory by Kira A. Dietz

Revision Statements

  • 2020-08-06: Finding aid notes updated to new department standards. juliags

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US