Retired engineering professor dies at 92

Nikki Wee

Retired civil engineering professor Miles S. Kersten died Aug. 28 at the Fairview-University Medical Center, of complications from multiple strokes. He was 92.

Instrumental in the development of programs in soil mechanics and highway engineering, Kersten was a professor at the University for 33 years. Following his retirement in 1978, Kersten served as an adviser to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. His work is still being cited in papers and technical journals.

Kersten served as an honorary member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, president of its Minnesota chapter, president of the Minnesota Surveyors and Engineers Society, and was well as a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers.

Among the students Kersten advised in his years at the University is Dick Braun, a transportation engineer, former head of the Minnesota Department of Transportation and founder of the University Center for Transportation Studies.

“He was a true professor who was primarily interested in students. The students were it. Research came second,” Braun said.

Braun recalled attending a 1955 Gophers football game with Kersten and two people who had written the textbooks they used in class.

“I was pretty impressed,” Braun said. “He was absolutely the best instructor, adviser and mentor a person could hope for.”

Kersten was preceded in death by his parents, Louie and Mabel; his wife, Eveline; a son-in-law, John H. Doran; and a sister, Helen Kersten Larson. He is survived by his daughter, Cynthia Kersten Doran of Portland, Ore.; son, Thomas L., and daughter-in-law, Judith Kersten of Bloomington, Minn.; five grandchildren; four great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Epworth Methodist Church, 3207 37th Ave. S., Minneapolis. A luncheon reception will follow in the Wellington Room at Breketwood, 4300 W. River Parkway, Minneapolis. Memorials may be sent to Epworth Methodist Church or to the Minnesota Surveyors and Engineers scholarship program, 20 Thomas Ave. E., Suite 206, West St. Paul, MN 55118.