Director Profile




Verne Cutler

Verne grew up in South Dakota, worked in his parent’s store, and hunted and fished, as a way of life until moving to Wichita, Kansas to finish his last semester of high school. (Events in World War II forced closing of the store and his father taking a job in Beech Aircraft Co.)

After high school graduation in 1943 he was employed as a draftsman by Boeing Airplane Co. and then “drafted” into the air force a year later. He first worked on B-17s before being shipped overseas as an aircraft mechanic in the 8th Air Force in England.

After the war in Europe was over he was transferred to the 9th Air Force in Germany. That led to the most extravagant influential educational exper- ience of his young life - 6 months at Biarritz American University (BAU), France. BAU offered college credit courses in elegant hotels taught by top faculty from the U.S. Life Magazine, Jan. 14, 1946 had a spread on BAU and said, “GI’s never had it so good.” That experience provided the boost needed to go on to college under the G.I. Bill.

Back in the U.S. he attended Wichita University 1946-48, Kansas State 48-51 with B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering. Then he was hired by Boeing Airplane Co. as a design engineer but received an offer from the Mechanics Department of the University of Wisconsin as an instructor for the fall of 1951 which he accepted after some soul searching!

In Madison he taught full time, worked on a PhD in Mechanics, built a house in Indian Hills living in the basement with his wife of 55 years, Norma, and 5 children while building above and received a PhD degree in 1960, and was appointed assistant professor. In the fall of 1963 he moved to UW-Milwaukee as associate professor and Chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics. He was promoted to full professor in 1967 and served as chairman for 10 years. He received teaching excellence awards from the UW-Milwaukee Alumni Association and a national award from the American Society of Engineering Education.

Verne retired in 2001 as emeritus professor of Civil Engineering and Mechanics after 50 years in the University of Wisconsin system. He also served as a consultant and expert witness and represents the UW-Milwaukee Retired Faculty Association.

He was fortunate to marry again to wife, Charlene, a practicing veterinarian, who provided a dog and three cats to the household.