CCEE Hall of Fame

Anson Marston

Key in establishing the Iowa State Highway Commission, international authority on water and sewer system design, outstanding educator, and first Iowa State engineering dean

Inducted 2021

Anson Marston played a crucial part in making Iowa State what it is today. Marston graduated from Cornell University with a degree in civil engineering and has honorary degrees from the University of Nebraska, Michigan State College and Iowa State University (1948).

He grew up on a midwestern farm and worked for other farmers in his neighborhood. He worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad that enhanced his engineering solving abilities. In 1892, he joined the Iowa State faculty in the Iowa Agricultural College. Marston took on many projects when he started, beginning with the college’s water and sewage issues. He designed the Iowa State sewage system and water tower. The water tower was the first elevated steel water tank west of the Mississippi River when it was erected in 1897. Marston also helped launch the building of Engineering Hall, Curtiss Hall and the Campanile.

Marston was named the first dean of engineering at Iowa State in 1904. During his tenure, he wrote over 200 technical publications, books and manuals. He designated Iowa State to head the Iowa State Highway Commission, which established a standard set of road plans and systems for road drainage, culverts, bridges; advice was made available for road contractors. The commission separated from Iowa State in 1913 and became a state-administered organization. Marston chaired the commission from 1913 to 1915 and worked on the commission until 1927.

The Engineering Experiment Station was also established under Marston. He developed the engineering program into the excellent one it is today. The Anson Marston Medal was established in 1938 to honor Marston and award outstanding alumni with significant contributions and dedication to Iowa State and engineering. It is known as the most prestigious award one can receive in engineering from Iowa State.