Oscar E. Manz, the son of a Canadian Lutheran minister, was born in Castor, Alberta, in 1927.
Manz grew up in Lemburg, Saskatchewan and received his Bachelor's degree in Ceramic Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan in 1951. Manz joined the UND Department of Civil Engineering in 1952.
In addition to his academic duties, Professor Manz formed and became the director of the Coal By-Products Utilization Laboratory (CBUL) at the Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) of the University of North Dakota, a lab that focuses on the utilization of high-lime fly ash in concrete. Manz also provided consulting services in the areas of soil stabilization, fly ash utilization, and clay and shale evaluations. Professor Manz's pioneering efforts in the utilization of fly ash formed the basis for many new products from combustion ash. In addition, Manz helped to form the Western Fly Ash Research, Development, and Data Center (now the Coal Ash Resources Research Consortium [CARRC]) at the EERC.
Manz was a member of several organizations, such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Society of Professional Engineers, the North Dakota Academy of Science, and an honorary member of the American Coal Ash Association. He received many awards and honors, such as the Elwyn F. Chandler Award in 1987, and the Edward A. Abdun-Nur Award for Fly Ash in 1992. Manz authored and coauthored over 100 publications and professional presentations.
Oscar Manz retired from UND as Professor Emeritus, Civil Engineering, in June 1989.
The Oscar Manz Papers date from 1892 to 2001 and consist of reports and other materials on North Dakota clays, shales, and volcanic ash. The collection has been divided into nine series as follows:
Series 1: Biographical Information
Series 2: North Dakota Clays
Series 3: Bentonites
Series 4: Construction Material Studies
Series 5: Fly Ash
Series 6: Insulators
Series 7: North Dakota Mineral and Water Resources
Series 8: Soil Stabilization
Series 9: Volcanic Ash (Pumice)