In memoriam: Daniel Hodge, former department head of electrical engineering
Daniel Hodge, who served as the head of the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Virginia Tech from 1981-89, died July 20 in Blacksburg at the age of 83.
In the eight years that Hodge headed the department, "numerous milestones in its history occurred, including the completion of the upper three floors of Whittemore Hall, the establishment of the Virginia Power Electronics Center (now CPES) and the Fiber and Electro-Optics Research Center as statewide Technology Development Centers, and the establishment of the Bradley endowment in 1987," said Luke Lester, the current department head of the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "Working with the head of civil engineering, Dan played a major role in shepherding this significantly impactful donation to our department and its sister contribution the Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
"Just as importantly, Dan laid the groundwork for how the endowment would be used, which resulted in the support of hundreds of undergraduate Bradley Scholars and graduate-level Bradley Fellows over the past 35 years who are now spread across our country," Lester said. "Following this tradition of giving, Dan and his wife, Lorraine, have also contributed generously to the department by creating the Hodge Department Head Discretionary Fund, which annually supports ECE students participating in regional and national team competitions."
Hodge was born and raised in North Manchester, Indiana, and discovered the world of short wave radio in junior high school. This, ultimately, led to his career in electrical engineering. He earned amateur and commercial radio operators licenses during high school. His first “real” job was as an announcer and transmitter engineer at WIBC in Danville, Illinois. He also worked part time at radio and TV stations WFBM, WIBC, and WBAA during his undergraduate years at Purdue University. While in graduate school, he worked at Collins Radio and MIT Lincoln Lab during summers. He also met and married Lorraine during graduate school.
Upon completion of his Ph.D., he and Lorraine spent a year in Oslo, Norway, where he was a Royal Norwegian postdoctoral fellow at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment. Subsequently, he was an electrical engineering faculty member at Purdue, Illinois, Ohio State, and Virginia Tech. Some of his research activities related to the effect of rainfall on radio wave propagation. As a consequence, he also served as a visiting professor of meteorology at McGill University. He served as department head at Virginia Tech's Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and department chair at The Ohio State University Department of Electrical Engineering, where he retired.
Hodge flunked retirement twice, working 15 more years. He and Lorraine moved to McLean, Virginia, where he served as a program officer at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and as associate executive director for accreditation at the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. He was a life fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE) and a fellow of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. He received the IEEE Meritorious Achievement Award in Accreditation Activities, the IEEE Meritorious Service Citation, and the NSF Director’s Award for Management Excellence.
Hodge was a consultant to more than 25 companies and government agencies. He also served as a consultant in forensic engineering. In addition, he served as chair of the National Electrical Engineering Department Heads Association and as a member of the IEEE Educational Activities Board.
In 2011, Hodge finally retired, and he and Lorraine moved to Woods Edge, Warm Hearth Village, Blacksburg. Here he served on the board of directors of the Woods Edge Condominium Association.
As a boy, Hodge enjoyed Boy Scout activities. He earned the Explorer Scout Silver Award while in high school. Later, both he and Lorraine served as volunteer leaders for Indian Guides, Cub Scouts, and Boy Scouts. He was an inveterate collector ranging from hats to antique tools. He took piano lessons as a boy and studied piano at the Jordan Conservatory in Indianapolis. He was pleased when he entered retirement and found that he could recover many of his piano playing skills after many years of little practice. He also enjoyed building models, particularly train and ship models. Finally, he enjoyed his friends and family and, particularly, helping them when he could.
He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Lorraine Ann Sandbakken Hodge; son Mark (Washington, D.C.); son Tim (Blacksburg, Virginia); Tim’s wife, Julie Dryden Hodge; and two grandchildren, Laura and Robert.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Hodge Department Head Discretionary Fund of the Virginia Tech Foundation by calling (800) 533-1144, or to the Warm Hearth Foundation.