Leaving a Legacy with a Fellowship

Photo of Don and Carol DitzenbergerDon and Carol were high school sweethearts who met in physics class while living in Miami. While Carol was drawn to biology and music, Don became a civil engineer; and it was his professional career that brought them to Jacksonville in 1977. Don served on the engineering advisory council at UNF from 1999, culminating as chair from 2009 to 2011. He is currently an advocate on the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction Dean’s Leadership Council.

In honor of Don’s leadership and contributions, UNF recognized him as an honorary alumnus in 2007. Although semi-retired for a few years now, the Ditzenbergers continue to give their time, energy, and passion to organizations related to the engineering profession. In 2014 they established an endowed fellowship within the UNF Taylor Engineering Research Institute for a masters student in the coastal and port program.

“We think it’s important to give back, and we appreciate having the opportunity to help others realize their hopes and dreams for a better life,” Don said. Don and Carol’s passion for the value of an education has led them to generously include their fellowship at UNF in their estate planning. Carolina Burnette, the first Ditzenberger fellow said, “I am immensely thankful that I could count on supportive and encouraging donors like Don and Carol Ditzenberger to further my academic journey.”

Don’s career includes a broad range of professional, technical, and civic involvement. The following represents a few of these activities. He joined the Florida Engineering Society (FES) in 1969, moving through the chairs of the Broward County Chapter and serving as president in 1982. He was honored as the Chapter’s Engineer of the Year in 1984 and was elected to FES Fellow Membership in 1985. Since joining FES, he has served on or chaired numerous state and local committees—including service as FES regional vice president. His dedication to the technical advancement of the engineering profession is typified by service in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) serving as president and director of the Broward County Branch, including service on the ASCE National Highway Planning and Economics Committee for six years. He is a life member of FES and ASCE. Awards include FES Engineer of the Year in 1990, FES Outstanding Service to the Engineering Profession in 1995, the James F. Shivler, Jr. PE Award for Outstanding Service to the Engineering Profession in 1997, and the FES Inaugural Legend Award in 2012.

In order to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of FES in 1991, he wrote “FES: The First Seventy-Five Years,” a history of the major events of the initial seventy-five years of FES, which was published in the July 1991 issue of FES Journal. Subsequently, as FES historian, Don updated this history for the 90th anniversary in 2006 and again in 2016 for the Centennial Celebration.

He has been active in both civic and community affairs, serving three years on the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Transportation Action Committee, five years on the Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Chamber of Commerce Highways and Streets Task Force, 18 years as a private practice member of the Florida DOT Manual on Uniform Minimum Standards for Streets and Highways “Green Book” Committee, more than 30 years as an active participant in the FES MATHCOUNTS competition for middle school students, and two years as private industry sponsor for the Broward County Ely High School Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS).

Carol was an integral part of FES’ Women’s Auxiliary Practice Section and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), serving as the southeast regional auxiliary vice president and FES auxiliary state president. She was a Girl Scout leader from 1964 to 1973 and served as a supervisor until 1976.


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