In Memory: Charles “Chuck” Samson, P.E., F.NSPE

September/October 2017

NSPE Today
In Memory: Charles “Chuck” Samson, P.E., F.NSPE

Charles “Chuck” Samson, P.E., F.NSPECharles “Chuck” Samson, P.E., F.NSPE, who served as NSPE president in 1987–88 and had a distinguished career in academia, passed away on June 15 at the age of 92.

Samson was born on July 12, 1924, in Ohio. He received his bachelor of science from Notre Dame after he was commissioned ensign in the Civil Engineering Corps during World War II. He was also a member of the Naval Reserve until 1956. Samson went on to achieve a master of science in civil engineering from Notre Dame and a PhD in structural engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

In 1951, Samson began working in Fort Worth, Texas, at General Dynamics. He later returned to Notre Dame, where he served on the civil engineering faculty. In 1960, he started working as a professor in civil and aerospace engineering at Texas A&M. He acted in several roles during his more than 30 years at the university, including as department head for civil engineering, a member of the Texas A&M Athletic Council, interim president of the university, and a vice president for planning. He retired in 1994 as a professor emeritus; he continued engineering work in private consulting for many years.

Samson was awarded the title of distinguished engineer by the Texas Engineering Foundation in 1981. He also received the Engineering Honor Award in 1982 from Notre Dame, and was nominated for the Rolex Achievement Award. In 2006, Samson was awarded the Honor Award in Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

In addition to serving as president of NSPE, Samson also served as president of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers from 1973–74. TSPE Executive Director Trish Smith says Samson will be missed for many of his contributions to the organization.

“I remember most his teaching of parliamentary procedure at our leadership conferences for many years,” says Smith. “He always checked my book of Roberts Rules of Order to be sure I had the most recent edition for the front of the board room.”

Samson was not only gifted in engineering; he excelled in tennis as well. At Notre Dame, Samson lettered in tennis for three years, was a team captain for two years, and was a NCAA singles finalist in 1944. He became one of the first Notre Dame tennis players to earn All-American honors. He went on to serve as president of the Southwest Conference from 1979 to 1981 and vice president of the NCAA from 1981 to 1983.