Rodolfo W. Gedeon

Rodolfo Gedeon
BSCE 1960, MSCE 1961
Retired, President
Petroquimica-Colombiana S.A. (PETCO)

Shareholder and Member of the Board of Glormed Colombia S.A.


"I will always be grateful for my Purdue education which helped me to open many doors during my successful career, and I learned to do the same for many others."

Rodolfo Gedeon is a widely well-regarded businessman and civic leader from Cartagena, Colombia. He started his career in September 1961 after earning his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in civil engineering from Purdue University.

Rodolfo returned to Colombia in August 1961, where he worked as a structural and construction engineer. There, he took on important projects such as the hydroelectric power plant in Cundinamarca and two petrochemical plants in Cartagena.

His interest in teaching led him to the Universidad de Cartagena, where he served as a part-time professor of structural analysis and pavement design for six years before going on to serve as Dean of the School of Civil Engineering for two years. Rodolfo was also a member of the City Council of Cartagena and was later named president of Electrificadora de Bolivar, the state power company.

In 1977, he returned to Petroquimica Colombiana for 30 more years — the last 25 years as company president. Under his leadership, the company expanded its production capacity to become the second-leading exporter in Colombia of non-mineral or agricultural products.

Rodolfo also served as president of the National Association of Industries and the Chamber of Commerce of Cartagena. He was a founding member and president of the Fundacion Mamonal, an association that included all the companies located in the industrial area of Cartagena, and a founding member of Actuar por Bolivar, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping single mothers establish and maintain small businesses.

Rodolfo currently serves on the board of directors of several major companies in Cartagena and Bogotá, as well as the Universidad de Cartagena. He is also an active member of the National Council of Basic Sciences, Colciencias.

In 1995 — thanks to all of his achievements and contributions — Rodolfo received a Doctor Honoris Causa in Engineering from Universidad del Atlántico as well as the 80 Years Medal from the Chamber of Commerce of Cartagena.

Rodolfo’s love of Purdue has also extended far into his family. Both his son and daughter — as well as 12 of his nieces and nephews — are Boilermaker alums. He also has six grandchildren waiting in line to attend Purdue.