Born in Laramie in 1918, Gunderson married Bonne Jeane Davis in 1942 and had two children, John Davis Gunderson and Cherielyn (Gunderson) Ferguson. He served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army 1941-1946 and reserve officer 1948-1966, retiring with the rank of Lt. Colonel.
Gunderson's career at San Jose State College began in 1948. He served there as head of the newly named Division of Engineering 1953-1955 and as Dean of the Engineering School at San Jose State University (SJSU) 1955-1970. Through Gunderson's efforts state legislation was changed, allowing SJSU to launch an accredited engineering school, offer graduate work, and engage in research, thus providing qualified engineers for the then emerging Silicon Valley. In recognition of this, Gunderson was inducted in 1995 into the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame.
In the mid- 60s, Gunderson created a Master's Degree Program in Cybernetic Systems, recognized for its unique balance of quantitative and qualitative content. The program, known internationally, is identified with the "Information Highway." Before his death in 1996, Gunderson saw his early goals achieved, as by then more than 4,000 students had passed through the SJSU College of Engineering, pursing nine different accredited degrees.
University of Wyoming Distinguished Alumnus Award 1979 SJSU Engineering Award of Distinction 1981