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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering College of Engineering University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Summer 2017

Build CEE

Leadership gifts advance Modernization Plan Sesquicentennial: How CEE alumni have shaped our world Alumni news and features


Shop for these items and more at Leather Padfolio $60 Black leather padfolio debossed with CEE at Illinois logo. Features zippered closure, interior organizer and writing pad.


CEE is published twice a year for alumni and friends of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign.

Infinity Scarf $40 Navy with orange logo imprint

Benito Mariñas Professor and Head Silk Tie $30 Orange and blue stripes with white CEE AT ILLINOIS imprint

Pashmina-Type Scarf $30 Orange with embroidered CEE at Illinois logo

Celeste Arbogast Senior Director of Advancement Operations John Kelley Director of Advancement Kristina Shidlauski Assistant Director of Communications Keely K. Ashman Coordinator of Alumni and Corporate Relations Nishant Makhijani Assistant Director of Advancement

Hard Hat $22 Orange hardhat with Column I decal on the front and CEE decal on the back.

Sheree Fruzen Office Support Specialist

Coffee Mug $7 Off-white with orange interior and handle

CEE Magazine Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign 1201 Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory MC-250 205 North Mathews Avenue Urbana, Illinois 61801 (217) 333-6955 Cover: “The Quintessential Engineer,” a new sculpture in the quad outside Newmark Lab, celebrates women in engineering. See page 34 for more information.


Reflections at the halfway point/Benito MariĂąas


Making the grade/Colleen E. Quinn, P.E., (BS 84)


Modernization update


Recruiting scholarships: access, excellence, impact


Sesquicentennial: celebrating 150 years 12

Decades of department news


Fazlur Khan honored in musical composition


Alumni accomplishments through the years



Research Experience for Undergraduates


CEE alums bring better sanitation to Costa Rica


What are you working on? Alumni projects


Study: Corn is better as food than fuel


Alumni Q&A: Thomas C. H. Lum (MS 59)


Student awards


Gary Parker elected to NAS


Smart prestressing system can be monitored, adjusted


Just a few self-driving cars can improve traffic flow


New campus statue honors women in engineering


Doris Willmer receives Lifetime Achievement Award


Graduation: Milhouse speaks, crane bay reception


Alumni awards dinner


Concrete canoe graces museum exhibit



All Together Now, Lift!


24 Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association—Summer 2017 3

Reflections at the halfway point By Benito MariĂąas Ivan Racheff Professor of Environmental Engineering and Head

Help shape the future of CEE at Illinois. State-of-the-art classrooms Hands-on, upgraded laboratories Collaborative spaces ADA compliance Modernized exterior Support for new curriculum Smart bridge The decade-long project to modernize the infrastructure at CEE at Illinois began with the Yeh Student Center and will continue with the renovation and expansion of the Hydrosystems lab. The work will be funded through support of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the College of Engineering, the campus and private gifts. All donors will be recognized on a giving installation. Naming opportunities are available. To support this effort, please contact: Benito MariĂąas, Department Head, (217) 333-6961, John Kelley, Director of Advancement, (217) 333-5120, Nishant Makhijani, Assistant Director of Advancement, (217) 265-0407, 4

Dear Alumni and Friends, In reflecting halfway through my fiveyear tenure as Head of CEE at Illinois, my main feeling is one of deep gratitude for having the opportunity and being entrusted with the responsibility to continue our legacy of excellence. It gives me great pride to observe how CEE at Illinois continues to shine both on campus and beyond. Examples of excellence by members of the CEE at Illinois family include Professor Gary Parker joining Professor Nathan Newmark in being elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and several of our alumnae receiving recognition as highlighted in this magazine. To continue this tradition of excellence, CEE at Illinois has several important initiatives; I highlight two of them in this message. As many of you know, we have embarked on a plan to modernize our undergraduate and graduate curricula and create the facilities necessary to support the new courses. A curriculum committee has been charged with modernizing the curricula this coming academic year; they will be getting input from CEE at Illinois faculty and staff at a retreat in late September and from alumni at the fall semester 2017 meeting of the CEE Alumni Association Board of Directors. Regarding the facilities modernization project, we received early this year the great news that the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois has approved the construction of the expanded Hydrosystems Laboratory building with modern classrooms, instructional laboratories, design studios and collaboratory space. The new building will be connected to the M.T. Geoffrey Yeh Student

Center with a smart bridge that will serve as an instructional facility for our bridge engineering courses, while at the same time be a beacon revealing the location on campus of our top-ranked CEE at Illinois department. Another important initiative is the development of a CEE Visionary Scholarship endowment that will allow us to attract a diverse group of top students from Illinois and beyond, who upon graduation will become the next generation of leaders in our profession, as Illini engineers have done throughout our history. Because excellence attracts excellence, in turn we will be able to continue attracting top faculty to work with these top students and develop long-term relationships with them as they help shape the future of the profession. I hope that you all share the pride that I feel about being a member of the CEE at Illinois family. If so, I challenge you to consider supporting your department; especially those of you who are considering doing so but have not acted so far. We are faced with two time-sensitive deadlines. In the facilities modernization project, we still have a gap of funding of approximately $5.5 million out of a total project budget of $32 million, which needs to be filled by the end of 2017, either with gifts or gift pledges. Please consider multi-year giving; we are allowed to count pledges of up to five years. Opportunities still exist to name classrooms, laboratories and other areas within the new space. Named spaces both honor those whom they commemorate and provide constant reminders for future generations of students of the individuals who have forged

This is a rare, historic moment to significantly advance the department and secure our top ranking – an opportunity that might not come again for years or even decades. our history. This is a rare, historic moment to significantly advance the department and secure our top ranking – an opportunity that might not come again for years or even decades. If you are in a position to make a major gift, please let me know. I would be happy to meet with you in person to discuss it further, wherever you are in the country or in the world; such is my commitment to seeing this project succeed – a commitment I hope many of you share. The other project that is time-sensitive is the CEE Visionary Scholarship endowment. Thanks to a generous challenge grant by the Grainger Foundation, all new gifts toward endowed scholarship funds will be matched 1:1, up to $25 million through the end of 2019. Gifts of any size to our CEE Visionary Scholarship Fund help us provide recruiting scholarships to students joining CEE at Illinois either as freshmen or by transferring from a community college. Our advancement team is always available to answer any questions about how to give back to your home department at Illinois. My deepest thanks to all of you who are active members of the CEE at Illinois family. It is the support of alumni like you who enable us to continue our long tradition of excellence. For those of you who have not yet taken a step to support the department, on behalf of the faculty, staff and current students of the department, I extend the invitation. We need you now more than ever. Like the Illini engineers you are, I know you will rise to the occasion. With Orange and Blue regards, Benito Mariñas

What’s in a name? Naming gifts are major gifts that allow an individual or company to name a portion of the new building, for example a laboratory, classroom, office area or collaborative space. Named spaces both honor those whom they commemorate and provide constant reminders for future generations of students about the individuals and industry partners who have forged our department’s history. Opportunities for naming gifts in the Phase II Modernization project range from $20,000 for graduate student offices to $16 million to name the entire new Hydrosystems Lab building. Specific spaces for which we hope to secure funding and the gift levels required for naming include: • Core classroom, to become the highest-capacity teaching area in the new Hydro Lab addition, used for core courses $2 million • Fluid mechanics laboratory, a centerpiece of the new Hydrosystems addition $2 million • Medium classroom, for integrated design courses $1 million • Technology-enhanced classroom, for small group and project-based instruction $500,000 • Materials laboratory $500,000 • Cultural exchange center, to promote cultural exchange among international and American students – for example Super Bowl watch parties and international dinners $500,000 • Conference room $250,000 • Student gathering space, located prominently at the third-floor, Newmark-side outlet of the Smart Bridge $100,000 • Faculty offices, 15 total planned, each sponsored at $100,000 • Graduate student offices, 50 total planned, each at $20,000 All naming gifts can be made by pledging to pay the full amount over several years, up to five. The first payment of a multi-year pledge can be made as late as 2019. To discuss a naming opportunity, please contact Benito Mariñas,, (217) 333-6961.

Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association—Summer 2017 5


SEPT. 11

SEPT. 27 & 28


CEE Golf Outing Day of golfing with fellow alumni, business associates, and CEE faculty and staff. Cog Hill Country Club, Lemont, IL

Faculty-Alumni Interaction Event Symposium on cross-cutting programs, followed by networking with faculty. Illini Center, Chicago, IL

CEE Job Fair Recruiters return to campus to meet with students. New two-day format this fall! Newmark Lab, Urbana, IL

CEE Tailgate - New Event! Day of tailgating with food, drinks and networking prior to the Illinois vs. Rutgers football game. Memorial Stadium, Urbana, IL

CEEAA Board of Directors President Colleen E. Quinn, P.E., (BS 84) Ricondo & Associates Inc. Chicago Vice President John P. Kos, P.E., (BS 77) H.W. Lochner Inc. Chicago Second Vice President and Secretary Paula C. Pienton, P.E., S.E., (BS 85) T.Y. Lin International Group Chicago Past President Allen J. Staron, P.E., (BS 74) Clark Dietz Inc. Chicago Directors Daniel F. Burke (BS 92, MS 93) City of Chicago DOT Chicago Nicholas L. Canellis (BS 94) AVA Consultants LLC Continental Painting and Decorating Chicago John E. Conroyd, P.E., S.E., (BS 83, MS 85) Tishman Realty & Construction Co. Corp. Chicago James M. Daum, P.E., (BS 77) Bowman, Barrett & Associates Chicago James K. Klein, P.E., S.E., (BS 78) Illinois Department of Transportation Springfield Justin R. Lewis, P.E. (BS 07, MS 08) Hayward Baker Inc. Roselle, Illinois Dana B. Mehlman, P.E., (BS 99, MS 01) PCS Administration (USA) Inc. Northbrook, Illinois Katherine Pripusich-Sienkiewicz (BS 03, MS 13) Fermilab Batavia, Ill. Robert Risser (BS 87, MS89) Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute Chicago Julian Rueda, P.E., (BS 80, MS 82) Geo Services Inc. Naperville, Illinois David A. Schoenwolf, P.E., (BS 77, MS 78) Haley & Aldrich Inc. McLean, Virginia Richard Sieracki (BS 74) The Kenrich Group LLC Chicago R. Scott Trotter, P.E., (BS 90) Trotter and Associates Inc. Saint Charles, Illinois

Find out more about these upcoming events at 6

Michael Vitale, P.E., (BS 82, MS 84) Mott MacDonald Cleveland, Ohio Daniel J. Whalen, P.E., (BS 84, MS 85) Hanson Professional Services Inc. Springfield

Making the grade By Colleen E. Quinn, P.E., (BS 84) President, CEE Alumni Association Board of Directors


s the semester and the school year wind down, grades quickly follow. As many know, report cards (in some form or another) remain relevant even after civil and environmental engineers complete their student careers and start on their professional careers. A meaningful example of this is the release by the American Society of Civil Engineers of the organization’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card this past March in Washington, D.C. Full disclosure: I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to contribute to the preparation of a section of this assessment of our country’s infrastructure condition and need. The nation’s overall grade is a challenging D+. This is a daunting grade without a doubt, but it is also an opportunity for civil and environmental engineers to have a tremendous impact. The vocabulary of infrastructure, the underlying framework of our built environment, has become more mainstreamed in conversations outside the engineering community. With that comes a more robust appreciation for what it means to have clean water coming from the tap, safe transportation systems, environmentally sensitive and sustainable development, reliable power and energy sources, managed and minimized solid waste streams, reliable data infrastructure, and other foundational infrastructure. I recently saw a reference to civil infrastructure as society’s non-virtual network – it’s what connects us. With such an infrastructure gap, what better time for the civil and environmental engineering field? We can lead the charge in improving, upgrading and, in some cases, rethinking our infrastructure. The University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign continues to lead among universities in educating the future leaders in civil and environmental engineering; it is

this group that will ultimately help to raise the grade of the nation’s infrastructure. In many ways, this is an energizing time to be an engineer. Our infrastructure needs are challenging but increasingly recognized and appreciated, the solutions will often be multi-disciplinary, funding limitations will encourage creative approaches, technology will continue to expand, environmental responsibility will be critical, and infrastructure complexity will intensify. And that is only the start. Raising our grade won’t be simple or fast, but it is essential that we use our education, our experiences and our talents to improve our infrastructure. Likewise, we have the opportunity and the tools to improve infrastructure on a global scale. The impact of engineers, beyond professional practice, cannot be underestimated. There is no shortage of opportunities to contribute at the local, state, regional and national level – including engagement with organizations, volunteering, communicating with legislators, and sharing your engineering understanding of infrastructure as the backbone of our nation, states and communities. Look for (or create) these opportunities. The time is ripe to make a meaningful difference as an engineer. You may have anticipated leaving grades behind as you moved into and through your career, but it turns out that you still have opportunities to help make the grade. Participate where you can and help to show the collective contribution that University of Illinois civil and environmental engineering graduates make. Enjoy your summer. I hope you have the opportunity over the next few months to attend some events hosted by the Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association – we’d love to see you there. Go Illini! i

The impact of engineers, beyond professional practice, cannot be underestimated. There is no shortage of opportunities for contributing at the local, state, regional and national level. Look for (or create) these opportunities. The time is ripe for making a meaningful difference as an engineer.

Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association—Summer 2017 7

MODERNIZATION UPDATE Gifts create the Vernon L. Snoeyink Water Chemistry Laboratory


laboratory honoring Professor Emeritus Vernon L. Snoeyink will be built as part of the CEE Modernization Project, thanks to gifts from his past students and colleagues, as well as a leadership gift from civil and environmental engineering firm Greeley and Hansen. The Vernon L. Snoeyink Water Chemistry Laboratory will be built in the Hydro Lab addition. “I am truly honored to be recognized by my colleagues and former students in this way,” Snoeyink said. “So many of our undergraduate and graduate students have gone on to distinguish themselves by their contributions to our profession and to society in general. The name and reputation of the University of Illinois goes with our graduates when they leave campus, and it is heartwarming to see and hear of their technical accomplishments, leadership roles and activities wherever I go.” Snoeyink served on the Environmental Engineering and Science (EES) faculty of CEE at Illinois from 1969 until 2005, when he retired. He taught graduate and undergraduate courses in water chemistry and water quality control, as well as a course he helped develop in cultural awareness and speech enhancement for

advanced doctoral students. From 19851999 he was coordinator of the EES program. He holds a B.S. in civil engineering (1964), M.S. in sanitary engineering (1966), and Ph.D. in water resources engineering (1968), all from the University of Michigan. Snoeyink is a co-author with David Jenkins of the book Water Chemistry (John Wiley, 1980). His many honors include membership in the National Academy of Engineering, the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors Distinguished Lectureship award, the Research Award from the American Water Works Association, the Warren A. Hall Medal from the University Council on Water Resources, the Samuel Arnold Greeley Award and the Simon Freese Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Thomas Feng Distinguished Lectureship from the University of Massachusetts, and the Tau Beta Pi Daniel C. Drucker Eminent Faculty Award from the University of Illinois. As an industry leader, Greeley and Hansen develops sustainable engineering solutions for water, wastewater, and water reuse challenges that are designed to create better urban environments. Founded and headquartered in Chicago

“Our founder, Samuel A. Greeley, was a true pioneer in advancing water and sanitation practices in the early 1900s. ... Professor Emeritus Snoeyink has carried on that same pioneering spirit today in our industry through his impressive Andy Richardson research work in water chemistry and as a respected and influential instructor in CEE at Illinois for many years.”

8 8

Vern Snoeyink

since 1914, the firm now serves clients from 21 offices worldwide. CEE alumnus Andy Richardson (BS 78), Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Greeley and Hansen, said the gift to sponsor the Snoeyink lab is in keeping with the work, commitment, and spirit of the company from its earliest history. “Our founder, Samuel A. Greeley, was a true pioneer in advancing water and sanitation practices in the early 1900s,” Richardson said. “The work done by Greeley and his colleagues at that time had a tremendous impact on the growth of U.S. cities by improving public health and safety. Professor Emeritus Snoeyink has carried on that same pioneering spirit today in our industry through his impressive research work in water chemistry and as a respected and influential instructor in CEE at Illinois for many years. We’re very pleased to recognize and honor his important contributions to the water industry through our gift to support the construction of this new state-of-the-art instructional lab facility in his name. We believe our partnership with CEE at Illinois supports our strong commitment to advance STEM education and will have a profound and lasting impact in preparing future generations of engineering leaders in the water resources field.” Having spent his entire career at Illinois, Snoeyink has nothing but praise for the generations of students he taught, many of whom contributed to the naming of the lab that will honor him. “When I look at the contributions and achievements of those who have graduated, whether they have stayed in our profession or have built on their U of I education and developed their careers in other fields, I think we must have done something right in our program,” he said. i

Alumni gift honors fellow alum, establishes named CEE Alumni Welcome Center


elvin “Mickey” Kupperman (BS 57, MS 58) and his wife, Janice, have made a gift to the CEE Modernization Fund to establish a dedicated space for CEE alumni in the planned addition to the Hydro Laboratory. The Sidney Epstein CEE Alumni Welcome Center will honor the 1943 graduate who hired Kupperman as a summer intern at A. Epstein and Sons in Chicago, touching off a 45-year career and a 60-year friendship. “Honoring Sidney Epstein was my way of saying thank you for giving me the opportunity and ... helping me become a better person,” Kupperman said. “I am very happy that I shared my intentions with Sidney before he passed away last February at the age of 93. He was very touched.” Kupperman is Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer for the real estate development, investment and management firm Silverstein Properties Inc. in New York City. He began his career at A. Epstein and Sons, the company founded in 1921 by Abraham S. Epstein (BS 11), also a CEE at Illinois alumnus. During his 45-year career at A. Epstein, Kupperman worked side-by-side with Abraham’s two sons, Sidney and Raymond (BS 38), eventually becoming Chief Executive Officer. Throughout his career there, Kupperman had a particular focus on organizational strategy and development as well as the management and organization of mega-projects, such as the expansions of McCormick Place in Chicago and the United Airlines Terminal at O'Hare International Airport, and the redevelopment of Midway Airport. After A. Epstein was sold to the employees through an employee stock ownership plan in late 2005, Kupperman “retired” to New York to help his longtime friend Larry Silverstein rebuild the World

“He taught me that the money you give away is more important than the money you keep.”

Mickey Kupperman, left, and Sidney Epstein

Mickey and Janice Kupperman

Trade Center. The University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign has honored Kupperman with the College of Engineering Alumni Award for Distinguished Service and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Distinguished Alumnus Award. Sidney Epstein (1923-2016) is remembered in Chicago for both his engineering accomplishments and his philanthropy. A. Epstein and Sons Inc. has been credited with pioneering the “design-build” concept of construction. The firm worked on such projects as the Federal Center and the Harold Washington Public Library, both in Chicago, and the Maine Montparnasse Tower in Paris. Epstein was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1959 and a Fellow of the Society of American Registered Architects in 1969. He was also co-founder, with Elliott Donnelley, of Chicago Youth Centers, Chicago’s largest private urban youth organization. “The important things I learned from Sidney had little to do with the business

and a lot to do with life,” Kupperman said. “He taught me that the money you give away is more important than the money you keep. He taught me that all of us that have been fortunate have a responsibility to our community. And, finally, he taught me that there is nothing more important in business than integrity.” Thanks to the Kuppermans’ gift, generations of CEE alumni will have a “home base” in Champaign-Urbana and an appreciation for fellow CEE alum Sidney Epstein. “I hope the welcome center would help foster a closer connection between alumni and the CEE department,” Kupperman said. “I also hope that it inspires other alumni to contribute in their own way to the future success of the department. In reality, the biggest impact may be on my sense of satisfaction by giving something back in honor of a friend and with Sidney’s family knowing that he will be long- and well-remembered.” i


Modernization update: how can YOU help? The Modernization Phase II project to expand and improve the Hydrosystems Lab, construct a smart bridge and add space to the Yeh Center where the smart bridge connects is coming together, currently progressing through the design stage. But CEE still needs your help to make this project a reality. We are now at a critical phase, in which we hope to raise the remaining $5.5 million by the end of 2017. We are most in need of leadership and naming gifts, to ensure that all of our goals for the project can be realized. How can you help? There might be ways you haven’t considered, for example: A multi-year pledge. You can spread your gift out over up to five years. If you make a pledge now, we can count your gift toward our project, but you don’t have to make the first pledge payment until December 2019. A company match. Does your company match charitable contributions? If so, you could multiply the impact of your gift. An estate gift. Your stated desire to support CEE at Illinois through your estate could support a future phase of the Modernization Plan. Make a gift or a pledge online at cee.illinois. edu/give Questions? Contact one of our gift officers: John Kelley,, 217-333-5120 Nishant Makhijani,, 217-265-0407 10

Former professor honored with structural design laboratory


ormer CEE faculty member and alumnus Joshua L. Merritt (MS 55, PhD 58) and his wife, Eleanor, will be honored with a named teaching laboratory, thanks to a gift by a CEE alumnus who prefers to remain anonymous. Named the E.W. and J.L. Merritt Structural Design Laboratory, the lab will be located in the new planned addition to Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory, part of the CEE Modernization Plan Phase II project. Merritt was born on July 28, 1931, in Dundalk, Baltimore County, Maryland. He received a bachelor’s degree with high honors from Lehigh University in 1952, where he was recognized with the John B. Carson Award for best record in professional courses. He continued his studies at the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign, where he received his master’s degree in civil engineering in 1955 and his doctorate in structural engineering with a minor in theoretical and applied mechanics in 1958. He then joined the faculty, being promoted to full professor in 1966. In 1962, Merritt won the A. Epstein Award for Outstanding Young Staff Members. During his time on the faculty at Illinois, Merritt also worked as an independent consultant, as well as an associate for Newmark, Hansen and Associates, and Nathan M. Newmark Consulting Engineering Services. In 1968, Merritt went to work in industry, continuing for two years as a visiting faculty member

J.L. Merritt, right, during his time at Illinois with William J. Hall in the background.

in CEE. In 1971, he founded Merritt Cases Inc. and served as CEO until 2007. Over the course of his career, Merritt evaluated the effects of – and developed design criteria for – seismic and other accidental effects on nuclear reactors, major high-rise buildings, bridges, Naval facilities and major underground subways and sewers. He was registered as a civil engineer in California and Nevada; geotechnical engineer in California; structural engineer in California, Illinois and Nevada; and professional civil engineer in New Mexico. i



CEE donors to endowed scholarship funds now can double the impact of their gifts, thanks to a pledge by The Grainger Foundation to match all donations to engineering scholarship endowments, dollar-for-dollar, up to $25 million. Corporate gifts to scholarship endowments will also be included and matched by The Grainger Foundation. The pledge is intended to help the College of Engineering reach its goal of achieving a $100 million endowment to support recruiting scholarships through the Engineering Visionary Scholarship (EVS) initiative. Established in 2013 with the objective of providing recruitment scholarships, the EVS initiative was launched with a $30 million gift from The Grainger Foundation. Since then, an additional $22 million has been raised for scholarships. The $25 million challenge grant will help the College achieve its goal that much faster. Additionally, the match will be applied to gifts to any existing scholarship endowment, even if it is not specifically part of the EVS program. Scholarships funded by the EVS initiative support undergraduate students who enter as freshman, as well as students who transfer to Illinois from community colleges. They are also used to support students in the summer scholars program and Academic Redshirt in Science and Engineering (ARISE) Scholars program, which provide access and assist low-income and underrepresented students in making the transition to one of the top engineering programs in the world. Questions? Contact: John Kelley,, (217) 333-5120 Nishant Makhijani, nishantm@illinois. edu, (217) 265-0407 i



CEE Visionary scholarship supplements help us attract top in-state applicants to accept our offers of admission. CEE Visionary recipients at a glance (fall 2016 and fall 2017*):

33.5 25 9 17 3.56

Average ACT composite score Women Under-represented minorities First generation in college Average first-year Illinois GPA of 2016 scholarship recipients

CEE EVS RECIPIENTS SAY... Dylan Subrin: Receiving the generous engineering scholarship played a large part in my decision to attend Illinois. Thank you to the donors who made it possible. Once I graduate, I plan on paying it forward.

Lauren Excell: While the other elite schools were taking their time making me feel lucky to even be admitted, Illinois was making it clear that they wanted me. .... This scholarship demonstrated to me how the CEE department strives to encourage women to become the great engineers that we can be.

Melissa Bayer: The University of Illinois was always one of my top choices due to the excellent civil engineering program offered here. After considering all of my options carefully, the Engineering Visionary Scholarship along with other scholarships motivated me to choose Illinois because I will be able to graduate with very little debt.

Karolina Urban: I am constantly grateful for those who are so proud of the educational quality of the University of Illinois that they choose to donate to maintain that standard. If I end up being successful later in life, I will definitely do the same to make sure that all of the brightest students have a chance to better their future regardless of economic situations. 11


First Newsletter 1957: The first alumni newsletter is issued; Nathan M. Newmark is announced as the new head of the department. DECADE


National Academy of Engineering Formed 1964: “Dean William L. Everitt, College of Engineering, and Professor Nathan M. Newmark, Head of our Department of Civil Engineering, are members of a ‘Committee of Twenty-Five’ national leaders in the engineering profession who are seeking a congressional charter for a National Academy of Engineering.”

Cutting Edge Tech Department obtains IBM 1620 August 1964: “An electronic computer, properly programmed, can recall and correlate instantly the factual information that can be used as a sound basis for making construction decisions. The Civil Engineering Systems Laboratory (CESL) under the direction of Professor L. R. Shaffer has devised programs for its IBM 1620 computer to solve problems in job planning, business application, productivity forecasts and production analysis.”

New CE Dynamic Test Laboratory New lab to simulate nuclear blast September 1965: “The new Civil Engineering Dynamic Test Laboratory, located a half mile east of First Street in the area of the University farms, will house a dynamic load generator which simulates the overpressure from a nuclear explosion. The generator was designed to apply a gas pressure of 800 psi in 3 milliseconds to the top surface of a soil container 4 ft. diam. and 8 ft. long. The pressure can be maintained for a period of time or decreased at a controlled rate.”

An article from the May 1965 newsletter asks, “Does it pay to change jobs?” “The answer, from a study of engineers who graduated from the University of Illinois five years ago, appears to be YES. A study was made of more than 400 graduates from the class of 1959, two-thirds of the total who graduated. The 240 engineering graduates still with their first employers now average $814 a month; 119 who made one job change, $841; 50 who made two, $812; 10 who made three, $894; and four who made four or more changes, $882.”

Engineering Co-Eds May 1966: “More co-eds are enrolled in the University of Illinois College of Engineering this year than ever before, though there still are only 37 among nearly 3600 engineering undergraduates.”

When They Said ‘Keep in Touch’ They Meant It July 1968: “Civil Engineering Class of 1943 has just issued its Silver Anniversary Class Letter edited by Raymond J. Ackerman. For each of 23 of the past 25 years the class of ‘43 has circulated a bound collection of letters from its members. In so doing it has maintained warm and meaningful ties between the members of the class over the years.

ALUMNI NEWS & NOTES THROUGH THE DECADES 1970: 1978: 1976: 1971: “Linton E. Grinter, the first person “Mostafa K. Khalil, MS 48 “[Harry Savidge], BS 07, “Mills LaMotte Calvert, BS ‘24, retired in to earn a Doctor of Philosophy and PhD 51 is Prime Minister tells humorously about September ‘65[...]. ‘Travelled quite a bit in degree in civil engineering from of Egypt. He recently his experiences in various the States and Canada since. Now pulling an the University of Illinois was visited Washington D.C. in “Airstream” and have spent the last two winters in boarding houses. In one the awarded the Swedish Order of tropical Texas and Mesa, Arizona. Celebrated my landlady was a farmer’s wife connection with the peace the North Star by the King of 68th birthday and our 44th wedding anniversary and a good cook who gave negotiations between Israel Sweden, on February 15, 1970.” and Egypt.” them chicken every Sunday.” with my wife, Maurine on June 18, 1971.’”


For 60 years, the CEE Newsletter/Magazine has kept alumni up-to-date on department news. Here are a few excerpts.




Motorcycles and Bicycles and Scooters, Oh My!

Boats in the Crane Bay the CE Navy


Fall 1972: An Exploding Phenomenon “As one visits the U. of I. campus these days, indeed as one passes through ChampaignUrbana, he is astounded at the frequency of bicycles, and motorcycles, and motor scooters, and automobiles at every point in the landscape. “ Approximately 11,000 bicycles were on campus during 1971-72 school year, expected to increase to 15,000 in 1972-73.

Madame President Winter 1974: Myra Radoyevich was elected President of the Alpha Chapter of Chi Epsilon, first woman student to serve in this role.

Faculty Notes Spring 1976: “Professor C.P. Siess, Head of the Department of Civil Engineering, has been reappointed to a third 4-year term as a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards. He began his service on this Committee in 1968 and served as Chairman in 1972.”


“Martin Joseph Joyce, BS 78 [...] and his wife, Denise, have just moved into their first house with their newborn son. All is well with house and baby, but he does not advise moving with a new baby unless it can’t be avoided.”

Spring 1980: “One of the favorite activities of crane bay “watchers” in the past few years has been the procession of boats and trailers that have appeared since the arrival of Professor Edwin E. Herricks on the Civil Engineering faculty in late 1975. Ed is an aquatic ecologist, Assoc. Prof. of Environmental Biology in the Environmental Engineering program, studying the effects of wastewaters and stream modification on fish and other organisms that are present in streams and rivers.” “At present the ‘CE Navy’ consists of five boats varying in size from 6 to 18 feet. Each is outfitted for specific purposes. The largest boat has a boom, water pump, and sufficient space required for sampling organisms from the bottom of larger rivers and lakes. Two boats are outfitted with 220 volt generators for fisheries sampling (Dr. Herricks’ fishing license is the envy of all the fishermen in the Department because it allows him to use anything except chemicals and explosives to catch fish). The smaller boats are equipped for various purposes, one will accommodate an A-frame and boom for current velocity measurements and the other is a general purpose dingy which allows easy use of the electrofishing gear in small streams.”


“Don Plotkin, MS 77 [...] is the chairman of the Monticello Railway Museum board. Plotkin is restoring the 1929 vintage wooden caboose that he bought for $1000 in 1977.”


“Amy L. Johnson, BS 92 [...] was an ambassador for the small island nation of Nauru in the Summer Olympic Games held in Atlanta and carried the flag for the athletes in the ceremonies.”

Left Brain, Right Brain Two CE Students Win Logo Design Contest Fall 1982: “Two Civil Engineering students were finalists in a recent competition to select a logo design for this year’s Engineering Open House. First place winner was Tim Yao, a CE freshman; second place went to Laurie Scheffel, an EE sophomore; and third place was awarded to Daniel Gurfinkel, a CE senior.”

Engineers in Space Winter 1985-86: All UI engineers “fly” with Nagel Astronaut Steven R. Nagel took more than 46,000 Illini with him when he piloted Challenger’s last mission before its calamitous mission in January. On October 30, 1985, 46,626 engineering graduates, students, faculty and staff went along on a microfilm list with Steve Nagel to space. Associate Dean Howard Wakeland provided Nagel with a list of 40,785 Illini who have received BS degrees in engineering since 1872.


“Phillip A. Shea (BS 98), a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, graduated USAF Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Tex. He was the top graduate [...] garnering three awards and a choice assignment to fly C-9A Nightingales out of Ramstein Air Base in Germany.”

Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association—Summer 2017 13

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore Two Generations Reminiscence About Early Experiences



Help Wanted Spring 1997: “Twelve alumni and friends of the department volunteered to host the first professional development fair on February 27, 1997, to share their expertise with civil engineering students.”

E.F. Mail (BS 11):

Fall 1976: “My first work out of school was as instrument-man for the Madeira-Mamore Railway Company in Brazil. Terminal headquarters were at Porto Velho, which is 1000 miles up the Amazon River and 600 miles up the Madeira, a large tributary which rises to the southwest in Bolivia. The trip there from New York required 35 days. […] We were 700 miles from our post office at Manaus but we had wireless communications with the world and received occasional bits of world wide news, such as the sinking of the Titanic and the nomination of Woodrow Wilson for the presidency. It was a wild, hot and unhealthy country. […] It was said, even then, that each cross-tie in the 250 miles of railroad represented the death of a man. I knew something of the deaths for part of my job was to keep graves staked in the cemetary near the Company hospital at Candelaria. […] I was happy in the fall of 1912 when my contract was finished and I could return to the states. On the way back I stopped two weeks at Barbados. After a year in the jungles of Amazonas that lovely little island of the Caribbean was the nearest thing to heaven that I have ever known.”

Jennifer Prepejchal (BS 97):

All Together Now, Lift! Fall 1999: “Built in 1870 at a safe 1600 feet from the ocean, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse faced destruction from erosion of the shoreline that had brought the ocean to within 120 feet. [...] The lighthouse was successfully moved 2900 feet southwest and to a location 1600 feet in from the shoreline, ensuring the lighthouse’s protection for another 100 years. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, a national historic landmark is 199 feet tall and weighs approximately 4400 tons. It is the tallest lighthouse in the United States and the tallest brick masonry lighthouse in the world.” Alumni involved with the project were; W. Charles Greer (BS 71, MS 73), Andrew Osborn (MS 76), Richard Kristie (BS 78) and Peter Stork (MS 85).

Spring/Summer 2003: “Looking out over the ocean, listening to the waves crash on the beach and the wind blow through the coconut trees, I couldn’t imagine how I had ended up on the island of ‘Eua in Tonga, South Pacific. It was the spring of 1999 and it had been nearly a year and a half since I finished my BS in civil engineering and joined the Peace Corps. […] I joined the Peace Corps in 1998 to share the skills I had developed through school and to experience another culture with traditions and a lifestyle different from my own. I was placed at Hango Agricultural College in Tonga to develop the curriculum and teach math and English Communications to students of varying educational and English-speaking levels. […] The school lacked the proper funding to maintain the buildings, much less feed the students appropriately. There were almost no books when I arrived; most had been destroyed in a hurricane. The majority of the students barely spoke English, yet the entire curriculum was English-based. Most days the students were exhausted from long hours spent hoeing the school farm fields, milking cows, feeding livestock or cooking for the other students.”



Staff Spotlight

Free Your Mind Fall 2002: “Each spring, Engineering Open House brings 30,000 people to campus for a showcase of engineering research and ingenuity at the University. This year’s theme was Free Your Mind, with special guest Bill Nye the Science Guy.”

Spring/Summer 2004: “As head of the department’s team of lab mechanics and instrument makers, [Tim] Prunkard is called upon to work on a dizzying variety of researchrelated projects for faculty members. “‘I get sketches that are on napkins or toilet paper. I try to take out what they have in their brain and make it real,’ he says. ‘We make these tiny, precise gauges, and then the next day they come in and want to break concrete. We are very unique in civil engineering because of the wide range of different types of work we are capable of doing.’”








Fazlur Khan honored in sesquicentennial composition


EE alumnus Fazlur Rahman Khan (MS 55, PhD 55) is one of only three University of Illinois alumni to be featured in a musical composition created to mark the university’s sesquicentennial. The work will be performed by the University of Illinois Wind Symphony and Chamber Singers in spring 2018 during concerts in Urbana, Chicago and New York. The symphony and singers, led by Director of Bands Stephen Peterson and Director of Choral Activities Andrew Megill, will be joined by soloists Nathan Gunn, Todd Payne, and Yvonne Redman for the debut of the newly commissioned work, “Gathering.” The composition is being created collaboratively between composer Dominick DiOrio of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and National Book Award-winning writer and Professor Emeritus Richard Powers. Powers has assembled a text that blends speeches and writings by a diverse trio of University of Illinois alumni, including Pulitzer Prizewinning poet Mark Van Doren (BA 1914), Nobel laureate in Physiology/Medicine Rosalyn Yalow (PhD 1945) and Khan, a pioneering architect and engineer best known for designing Chicago’s Willis (Sears) Tower and John Hancock Building.

Fazlur R. Khan (MS 53, PhD 57). Courtesy of the University of Illinois Archives.

In May 2017, the creative team including the directors and performers gathered at the School of Music to discuss the lyrics and composition as well as the process and thought given to bringing the work to life. With the composers’ flowcharts pinned to the walls of a Music Building classroom, Powers described the energy within the words of the reference material and gave insight into the choices made with the lyrics, while DiOrio described the feel, emotion and flow of the musical score. The lively discussion focused upon how the text and the music wove together to paint a portrait of Illinois’ long history and the vibrant future ahead. A featured quote from Khan is: “The technical man must not be lost in his own technology. He must be able to appreciate life, and life is art, drama, music, and most importantly, people.” For more information as it develops visit i

“The technical man must not be lost in his own technology. He must be able to appreciate life; and life is art, drama, music, and most importantly, people.”

Dominic DiOrio, right, explains his composing process and displays the notes he made in planning the sequence of the sesquicentennial composition. Librettist Richard Powers, center, holds the other end of the paper. Performer Todd Payne is in the foreground at left.

Performances Sunday, February 11, 2018 – Chicago Chicago Symphony Center Featured soloists: Nathan Gunn, Yvonne Redman Saturday, April 14, 2018 – New York City Alice Tully Hall Featured soloists: Yvonne Redman, Todd Payne Saturday, April 21, 2018 – Urbana Campus Krannert Center for the Performing Arts Featured soloists: Nathan Gunn, Yvonne Redman

From left, Dale Van Harlingen, head of the Department of Physics, Illinois; Richard Powers, librettist; Dominic DiOrio, composer; Todd Payne, professor of music, Missouri State University, soloist; Yvonne Redman, associate professor of voice, Illinois, soloist; Jim LaFave, CEE associate head; Jeffrey Magee, professor and director of music, Illinois; and Stephen G. Peterson, director of bands, Illinois. Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association—Summer 2017 15


In addition to shaping history, CEE alumni have helped memorialize it. Thomas Lum (MS 59) was the sole structural engineer for the USS Arizona Memorial, an historical monument located at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Dedicated in 1962, the Memorial is built over the sunken wreckage of the USS Arizona, the final resting place for many of the 1,177 crewmen killed on December 7, 1941, during the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

For many years, a man named Joseph Strauss received all the credit for designing the Golden Gate Bridge. But in truth it was one of Strauss’s employees—Charles A. Ellis (CE 22)—who was responsible for the design and calculations of what was then the longest suspension bridge in the world. Ellis was a civil engineering professor at Illinois for seven years before accepting a position at Strauss Engineering Corporation in Chicago. Joseph Strauss, who was not an engineer but had experience building


Earthquake proof Mexico City’s Latinoamericana Tower was completed in 1956 and was the first skyscraper built on highly active seismic land. The structure was designed by Leonardo Zeevaert (PhD 49), with Nathan Newmark (MS 32, PhD 34) as the main consultant. Only a year after completion, the structure was put to the test when a 7.9 earthquake hit the city, and survived without damage. An even larger earthquake (8.1) hit Mexico City in 1985, destroying many buildings. Yet again, the Tower remained unscathed. Today, the Latinoamericana Tower is still considered one of the safest buildings in the city.

bascule bridges, originally lobbied for a hybrid cantilever/suspension bridge across the Golden Gate. When his plans were rejected, he hired Ellis to develop an alternate design. Ellis spent months working on the project and his version was approved by the Bridge District Board of Directors in 1930. Ellis made all the computations for the bridge, including suspension ropes, floor beams and cables. For reasons still unknown, Strauss fired Ellis before

construction began and removed all mention of Ellis from his final report on the bridge. It wasn’t until the 1980s that Ellis’ role as bridge designer became widely known, and it wasn’t until the bridge’s 75th anniversary in 2012 that a plaque acknowledging Ellis’ role was installed at the bridge. Other areas of the bridge construction in which CEE alumni played a role include cable spinning, pier foundations, and properties of steels and riveted joints.

Burning rivers

Sesquicentennial libretto

Before environmental regulations were enacted, American industry dumped waste into rivers and lakes without much regard for the effects. Burning rivers were not all that uncommon—rivers in Columbus, Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland and other cities caught fire from the late 19th century through mid-20th century. But in 1969, a magazine article about a relatively minor fire on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland engaged the public’s interest; the fire became both a symbol of environmental neglect and a rallying cry for change. Many states, including Ohio, were already making efforts to clean up their waterways, but the national attention and support eventually led to the federal Clean Water Act of 1972. Jim Hanlon (BS 72) spent most of his career with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and served as director of the Office of Wastewater Management for more than 10 years. During his tenure, he led a significant cleanup of the nation’s waterways and worked with industry, trade and government stakeholders to develop numerous regulatory programs. Hanlon’s work has garnered him many awards, Interesting sidenote: photos—including the one including two separate Meritorious above—that are often used to illustrate the infamous Service Awards, granted by Presidents Cuyahoga River fire in 1969 are actually pictures of earlier fires. No photos of the 1969 fire are known George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

To commemorate the University of Illinois sesquicentennial, the University’s School of Music has commissioned a new musical work. The libretto sets to music the words of three Illinois alumni—one of whom is Fazlur Khan (MS 55, PhD 55). Khan’s quotes are used in two male solos:

to exist. Indeed, the 1969 fire was considered just a “flare-up” and initially barely rated local news coverage. This photo shows a fire from November 1952.

MALE SOLO: “I put myself in the place of a whole building, feeling every part. In my mind I visualize the stresses and twisting a building undergoes.” MALE SOLO: “The technical man must not be lost in his own technology; he must be able to appreciate life, and life is art, drama, music, and most importantly, people.” The work will be performed in Chicago, New York City, and the Krannert Center for Performing Arts in Urbana.

Interstate highway system

Nathan Newmark’s first paid consulting job

In December 1918, E.J. Mehren (BS 06), a civil engineer and the editor of Engineering News-Record, presented “A Suggested National Highway Policy and Plan“ during a gathering of the State Highway Officials and Highway Industries Association at the Congress Hotel in Chicago. In the plan, Mehren proposed a 50,000-mile (80,000 km) system, consisting of five east-west routes and 10 north–south routes. This formed the basis of plans that eventually became the Interstate Highway System.

Before he was Department Head, Nathan M. Newmark (MS 32, PhD 34) was a graduate student at Illinois, then postdoc, then research assistant, research assistant professor, and finally research professor. In 1933, he wrote a report for the Bureau of Reclamation about the “effect of damping on seismic vibration response of the twin water intake towers for Boulder Dam.” According to Professor Emeritus William J. Hall, Newmark referred to this—an engineering task for which he received payment—as his first paid consulting job.

World’s longest floating bridge The Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, completed in 2016, measures 2,349.55 meters and connects the cities of Seattle and Bellevue, Wash. It holds the Guinness World Record for longest floating bridge. Sam Yao (MS 84, PhD 89) was extensively involved in the engineering of the bridge. He also served as the leading engineer of the repair of severe damages in the new floating bridge, and the leading engineer of the removal of the old bridge after the new bridge was completed. His work received the Outstanding Projects and Excellence Award from National Council of Structural Engineers Associations as well as several other engineering societies.

Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association—Summer 2017 17

“Do we want to go to the moon or not?” When President John F. Kennedy challenged NASA to land a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s, the prevailing thought was that the goal would have to be accomplished with a single giant rocket traveling directly from the earth to the moon’s surface. John Houbolt (BS 40, MS 42) disagreed with this approach. Instead, Houbolt developed the concept of a lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR). In this scenario, two joined components would travel from the earth to the moon’s orbit, at which point one of the sections would detach and take the crew to the moon. This smaller component would then rendezvous with the orbiting rocket to return the crew to the space craft for the return trip to Earth.

Urban transportation systems The De Leuw, Cather firm engineered many of the early subway projects in North America, including Toronto, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, Washington D.C. Charles De Leuw’s (BS 12) firm also pioneered integrated transportation systems, combining various modes of transportation in a single right of way. An example is Chicago’s Eisenhower Expressway, which was the first expressway in the United States to incorporate a rapid transit line and an expressway within the same corridor.

Who you gonna call? When a notorious drug lord escapes prison through a ventilated, well-lit mile-long tunnel (complete with a modified motorcycle mounted on rails), who do newscasters call to help explain to viewers how such a tunnel could have been excavated? They call CEE at Illinois alumnus and tunnel expert Gary Brierley (MS 70, PhD 75). Brierley was interviewed by CNN in July 2015 to provide insight into the escape tunnel Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman entered via an opening under the shower in his Altiplano Prison cell and exited at a construction site nearly a mile away.

Even though the LOR would cost less, shave years off the timeline, and be more efficient, there was much resistance to the idea. Houbolt became a fiery advocate for the LOR approach and, according to NASA, took the “bold step of skipping proper channels” to argue the point in a letter to an incoming director: “Do we want to go to the moon or not?” he asked. “Why is Nova, with its ponderous size simply just accepted, and why is a much less grandiose scheme involving rendezvous ostracized or put on the defensive?” Houbolt eventually managed to sway opinion and his method was implemented. NASA credits Houbolt as one of the “unsung heroes of the Apollo Program,” who made the moon landing possible within the decade named in President Kennedy’s directive.

Tallest buildings in the world. Fazlur Khan’s (MS 55, PhD 55) pioneering work in structural design established tubular systems as the “go-to” method for creating skyscrapers. Khan designed the bundled tube system that was used in construction of Willis Tower (known then as Sears Tower), which for many years held the title of the tallest building in the world. It was surpassed in 1998 by the Petronus Towers in Kuala Lumpur, which used Khan’s “tube in tube” system. In 2010, the Burj Khalifa (at right) dwarfed every other tall building in the world, with an architectural height of 828 meters – almost twice the height of Willis Tower. The “buttressed core” structural system used in the Burj Khalifa was developed by William F. Baker (MS 80). Currently under construction, the Jeddah Tower will take on the title of tallest building in the world when completed, being the first building to reach the one kilometer high mark. Geotechnical engineer Alan Poeppel (BS 91, MS 93) worked on the foundation design, which will eventually accommodate a gravity load of 860,000 tonnes—almost twice that of the Burj Khalifa.

Forensic engineering

Photo: FEMA


After catastrophic events, CEE alumni are often the ones contacted to make sense of what happened. W. Gene Corley (BS 58, MS 60, PhD 61), Mete Sozen (MS 52, PhD 57), James R. Harris (MS 75, PhD 80) and William Baker (MS 80) are just some of the experts who have provided analysis for disasters such as the collapse of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers and the crash of Flight 77 into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and the 1995 bombing and collapse of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

Robert Smilowitz (MS 73, PhD 77), who was a member of the ASCE/ FEMA Building Performance Assessment Team that analyzed the WTC collapse, also contributes to the other side of the equation: designing blast-resistant structures. Among his projects are security upgrades to the United Nations in New York City, protective design of the new World Trade Center towers, and blast investigations and design for the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

What are you up to?

Photo: Frank Murphy at a 1910 Conference track meet. Courtesy University of Illinois Archives.

Have you worked on any projects of special importance or interest, such as the ones included on these pages? Let us know! Visit

Vail, Colorado

The Olympic Games

Did you know that Vail, Colo., was named for civil engineering alumnus Charles Davis Vail (BS 1891)? Vail was appointed Colorado’s state highway engineer in 1930. During his tenure, the state’s hardsurfaced road system expanded from 539 miles to more than 4,400 and included all-weather routes through the Rocky Mountains. One of Vail’s projects was construction of U.S. Highway 6, which he routed through Gore Valley, about 75 miles west of Denver. The pass became known as Vail Pass, and when the ski resort and town were established at the base of the pass in the 1960s, they also adopted Vail’s name.

In 1912, Frank D. Murphy (BS 24) was captain of the Illinois Varsity Track Team. A champion pole vaulter, he was selected to compete in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. In addition to receiving a Bronze Medal at the Games, he met and became a life-long friend of Jim Thorpe. After a ten-year gap, Murphy returned to the university and completed his civil engineering degree. Another civil engineering alumnus competed at the 1912 Olympic Games: Avery Brundage (BS 09). Brundage competed, but did not medal, in the decathlon and pentathlon. In subsequent years, he won three national track championships. Brundage remained active in sports throughout his life, though as an administrator not a competitor. In 1952, he was named President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and served in that position for 20 years (at times, somewhat controversially). Brundage is the only American to have served as IOC President.

Trans-Alaska Pipeline Construction on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline took place from 1975-1977. The pipeline is 789 miles long, and extends across Alaska from Prudhoe Bay in the north to Valdez in the south. Some of the pipeline is buried, but where permafrost exists the pipeline is above ground. Approximately 1.8 million barrels of oil flow through the pipeline each day. Among those who worked on the proj-

ect were Professor Emeritus William J. Hall (MS 51, PhD 53), who was part of the design team, and Nathan M. Newmark (MS 32, PhD 34), who designed sections of the pipeline located near fault lines. Douglas J. Nyman (MS 71, PhD 73) has a long professional association with the pipeline: first, as a member of the engineering staff and later as primary seismic engineering consultant.

Alumni Association The Civil Engineering Alumni Association was established in 1963. The first Annual Meeting was held on May 23, 1964 in the Illini Union Building.

America’s favorite pastime Many people know that George Halas (BS 18) started the Chicago Bears football team and is one of the founders of the NFL. He even designated the team colors as blue and orange in honor of his alma mater. However, did you know that in addition to football, Halas also lettered in basketball and baseball while at Illinois? Halas even went on to play minor league baseball and, in 1919, was called up to the majors where he played as an outfielder for the New York Yankees. His baseball career was cut short due to a hip injury, and he returned to his home state. It was then that he took control of the Decatur Staley’s football team and moved them to Chicago to become (in 1922) the Bears. As was common practice for many early football teams, the team name was derived from the city’s baseball team – in this case, the “Cubs” led to the “Bears.” Over the years, CEE alumni have had a hand in baseball stadium projects across the nation. Recently, Bill Bennet (BS 91, MS 93) led a renovation of the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field. Some of the other baseball stadiums with which our alumni have been involved are Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Safeco Field (Seattle), US Cellular Field (Chicago), Chase Field (Phoenix), Target Field (Minneapolis), and SunTrust Park (Atlanta).


Assistant Professor Jeremy Guest and junior Yanbing Wang review algae production data from the U.S. Department of Energy at their regular research meeting (see Project Spotlight at right).


Research Experience for Undergraduates

he CEE Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program began in 2012 as a way to expose undergraduate students to hands-on research. The program provides a way for undergraduates to expand their academic portfolio into the research arena – an area historically occupied by graduate students. “I think participation in the program gives to our undergraduate students a unique experience that they do not typically get in their regular courses,” said Professor Paolo Gardoni, faculty adviser to undergraduate researcher Isaac Howenstine. “This experience gives them a better appreciation of what they learn in their classes and prepares them to tackle some of the challenges they will face after graduation.” Additionally, participation in the REU program can help students discern whether they might be interested in pursuing a master’s degree with a thesis or a Ph.D., said Professor Jim LaFave (BS 86, MS 20

87), Associate Head and Director of Undergraduate Studies at CEE, and can introduce them to additional areas of interest. “Through getting involved in research via the REU program, a number of our CEE undergraduates have also gotten a much better idea as to how much interdisciplinary work is currently taking place within the field and even between CEE and other engineering disciplines,” LaFave said. “This has for example spawned quite a few creative customized multidisciplinary CEE secondary programs for our students, which will uniquely position them to really make a difference in their careers at the boundaries and intersections of traditional disciplines.” Undergraduate research has become a selling point for prospective students in recent years, and participating students are more likely to stay for graduate studies. LaFave said that the REU program is now an integral part of efforts to recruit

Paolo Gardoni

James LaFave

CURRENT REU PROJECTS Approximately 85-95 students participate in the REU program each year. Through the CEE Trust, the department contributes $2,000 for each student’s semester in the program – $1,500 to the student and $500 to the faculty adviser. Students devote at least 10 hours per week on the research during the fall and spring semesters as well as at least 20 hours per week for six weeks during summer term. At the end of the program, they must turn in a final product, such as a report, presentation, newly developed software code and/or a conference paper or journal paper draft. Below are three REU projects from the 2016-2017 academic year.

Project Spotlight

Project 2

Student: Yanbing Wang Faculty: Assistant Professor Jeremy Guest

Student: Isaac Howenstine Faculty: Professor Paolo Gardoni

Yanbing Wang is a junior, working in Assistant Professor Jeremy Guest’s research group on a project called “Kinetics of Nutrient Uptake by Microalgae.” Microalgae have tremendous potential to advance the limit of technology of wastewater treatment, by enabling simultaneous nutrient recovery and bioenergy feedstock production. For this technology to be successful, it is critical to develop a deep understanding of how to design treatment processes that reliably achieve adequate nitrogen and phosphorus recovery from wastewaters. Working with Guest, Wang has been cultivating microalgae and conducting experimental studies to determine the maximum achievable rates of nitrogen and phosphorus uptake, as well as other kinetic parameters necessary to design full-scale systems and predict their performance. Wang said studying the growth of microalgae will help her better understand and design efficient wastewater treatment systems. “I would definitely recommend [the REU program] to other CEE students,” Wang said. “I love to see [how] my textbook knowledge is able to apply to real-life engineering work. REU is a great program combining my study in environmental engineering, and can also add some hands-on experience during lab experiments.”

Isaac Howenstine is in his second semester of working with Professor Paolo Gardoni and Ph.D. student Roberto Guidotti on analysis of the potable water network for Seaside, Ore., subject to seismic hazards. Howenstine has been working with the city engineer of Seaside to obtain network information, and is now studying how physical damage to the network affects water availability to the population of Seaside.

and retain a diverse group of the best and brightest undergraduates into CEE. Much of the funding for the program comes from the CEE Trust, a general pool largely supported by alumni gifts, that allows the department to develop and implement innovative programs and initiatives to enhance students’ educational experiences. Currently, approximately 85-95 undergraduate students are able to participate each year. LaFave said that the number of students has leveled off over the past few years. “Part of the reason for this is we now have to limit students to participating in the program no more than two semesters during their time here, and we also limit faculty to having no more than two REU students in any given year,” LaFave said. “As much of the funding as possible for this program comes each year from the CEE Trust fund, which enables generous donations from our alumni and other friends of the department to support the program. However, this is seldom enough to cover everything, and so other departmental funds need to also be used for this purpose. [I]t would be great if the program could be even more strongly supported through donations.”


Project 3 Student: Noreen Mattson Faculty: Associate Professor Scott Olson Noreen Mattson is currently working with Professor Scott Olson (BS 93, MS 95, PhD 01) and Ph.D. candidate Alfonso Cerna Diaz. The title of her project is “Experimental and numerical investigation of cyclic response of dense sand under multi-directional shaking.” Mattson is processing accelerometer, piezometer and settlement measurements in dense sands subjected to unidirectional and multi-directional shaking during four sophisticated geotechnical centrifuge tests performed by Cerna Diaz. The purpose of this project is to assist Cerna Diaz in assessing volumetric strains induced in dense sands during uni- and multi-directional shaking and in developing a simplified model to estimate earthquake-induced settlements in dense sands.

Hundreds of undergraduate students have had the opportunity to participate in handson research thanks in large part to alumni giving. Donations to the CEE Trust Fund will help the REU program continue to grow. Scan the QR code below or visit our website to make a gift.

Summmer 2017 21

CEE alumni help bring better sanitation to

Costa Rica is famous for its abundant natural beauty and environmental diversity, but although there are 4.8 million people living in this Central American country, there is just one conventional wastewater treatment plant, located in San Jose. Thanks to a volunteer initiative with significant involvement from CEE at Illinois alumni, better sanitation is coming to Costa Rica, one community at a time. Global Water Stewardship (GWS) started as a subcommittee of Central States Water Environment Association (CSWEA), an organization of wastewater treatment professionals from Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. It is now a 501(c)3 organization. Founded in 2013 to address the fact that 2.4 billion people around the world lack access to adequate sanitation, GWS works to educate people and engineer sustainable centralized solutions that keep waterways clean and communities healthy. Volunteers include members of CSWEA, engineers from across the U.S., students, and business and marketing professionals. “I first got involved in 2015 when I saw a presentation by our GWS chair, Amanda Members of Global Water Stewardship provide educational programs to communities. 2222

Heller,” said CEE alumna Alexandra Knicker (BS 14), an environmental engineer for Baxter & Woodman Consulting Engineers, who serves as GWS’s social media chair. “I was immediately drawn in because of the fact that this group specifically addresses the sanitation issue, not drinking water as I’ve so commonly seen everywhere else. I suddenly had a new appreciation for waste management and how it can affect public health, economic prosperity, and of course our surrounding environment.” Approximately a quarter of Costa Rica’s people live in poverty. Outside the range of the wastewater treatment plant in San Jose, septic systems are typically used, but they have a finite useful life and fail if not maintained, Knicker said. Septic systems were not created for use in densely populated areas, such as the communities in Costa Rica. They run the risk of accumulating pollutants in the groundwater, where they source their drinking water. Their use also means higher risk of failure from lack of main-

tenance and septic haulers. This results in pollution of waterways, leading to disease and environmental degradation. Additionally, untreated grey water flows through trenches along roads, straight to rivers, estuaries and the ocean. This water carries contaminants that are detrimental to both human health and marine life. Untreated wastewater can negatively impact the biodiversity that Costa Rica is known for, Knicker said, as well as tourism and resources that residents’ livelihoods depend on. Each year, GWS works with AyA, the Costa Rican governing water authority, to identify a community served by an ASADA – or local drinking water utility – that would benefit from a centralized sanitation facility. During visits throughout the year, GWS provides education to school children and community members on the impacts humans have on the water cycle, the implications of water pollution, and the benefits of centralized sanitation. The group also engages American university

students through an annual engineering student design competition, which results in the design of a centralized facility to meet the needs of the identified community. Volunteers from GWS then coordinate with local regulators, community officials and funding partners to complete the design, obtain necessary permitting and construct the facilities. After completion, GWS will assist with startup of facilities and training of operators. Currently, projects in three communities are in the works: Piedras Blancas, Bahia Ballena and Dominical. “There’s so much need for clean water and sanitation that it feels great to actually have the knowledge and ability to help,” said CEE alumnus Michael Holland (BS 03), District Engineer for the Illinois Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District, who helped found GWS as a way to partner with university students on an outreach and design problem. “The excitement in my peers and the kindness in the communities we’re working with makes the hard work worthwhile.” Also involved in early discussions about GWS when the group was forming, CEE alumna Micah Pitner (BS 08), a Senior Engineer at Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, now serves as a member of the International Programs and Research and Development/Education committees. “I had to take a break when I had my daughter, and while I was gone the organization exploded!” she said. “When I first chose civil engineering as a major and path for myself in high school, it was because I wanted to use the talents and interests I’d been given to help other people. It broke my heart that so many people live without clean water and sanitation, and I wanted to do something about it. GWS gives me an opportunity to do just that.”

Members of Global Water Stewardship, including CEE alumni Alexandra Knicker, second from left; Michael Holland, in the back row with the orange shirt; and Elizabeth Bohne, in the green dress.

Alan Phelps (BS 11) first witnessed true poverty when he traveled to the Philippines as a child with his mother, who had grown up there and who frequently told him about the struggles people face in the developing world, he said. Today he serves on the GWS Board of Directors and as the Student Design Chair for 2016-17. “I take inspiration away from every developing community I visit and it just continues to grow with every experience,” he said. “Having witnessed needs for sanitation abroad and having the knowledge and skills to do something about it is what inspires me to be a part of Global Water Stewardship.” Fellow CEE alumnus Derek Wold (BS 96), Executive Vice President and Water/ Wastewater Group Manager at Baxter & Woodman, which sponsors GWS, said the group gives young engineers “the opportunity to learn and interact with designs at a very hands-on level.” “GWS is also extremely results-driven, making sure they are providing the best solution, similar to what we do with our clients in our day-to-day roles,” Wold said. During her time at Illinois, Elizabeth Bohne (BS 15, MS candidate 19), Process Engineer at Trotter and Associates, was involved in both Engineers Without Borders, a registered student organization that works on projects in developing countries, and the Learning in Commu-

nity class, through which engineering students design, develop and implement social service projects with local nonprofits and community partners. “I was excited to find a group similar to this in the professional world,” Bohne said. “It’s great to be involved in a group of like-minded people who are really passionate about using their skills to make a positive impact.” Knicker also credits her college experiences at Illinois with priming her for an interest in GWS, particularly her participation in water and energy research and her study abroad experience, which broadened her perspective. “Here in the United States, many of us live a privileged life in our developed country, making it easy to take so many things for granted, including sanitation access everywhere we go,” she said. “As someone who cares deeply about environmental conservation, as well as the quality of life for my fellow humankind, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to effect change with GWS. Even if just one person hears about the issue and starts to realize how lucky they are to have infrastructure and a clean toilet and protected waters, that makes it worth it.” For more information about Global Water Stewardship, visit, or find them on social media (@H2OStewards). i

Civiland andEnvironmental EnvironmentalEngineering EngineeringAlumni AlumniAssociation—Summer Association—Summer2017 2017 2323 Civil

What are you working on? CEE alumni are working on fascinating projects all over the world. Let’s hear about some of them! If you’d like to write about one of your projects for a future issue of the CEE magazine, please contact Celeste Arbogast,, for details.


A 30-foot dragon in Lincoln Center’s plaza for the Game of Thrones season 4 premiere. All photos courtesy of Miriam G. Paschetto, left.

Arenas, retractable roofs and the odd dragon Miriam G. Paschetto (MS 00)


little more than 15 years ago I started wraps. However, I also worked on the new rework at Geiger Engineers – shortly after tractable roof, which debuted at the 2016 U.S. getting my master’s degree from the Uni- Open, which was built on the existing Arthur versity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Gei- Ashe stadium at the Tennis Center. Geiger’s ger Engineers was founded in the late 1980s one Principal who is a mechanical engineer by David H. Geiger, a pioneer in designing designed the mechanical systems that operair-supported fabric roofs for sports stadia ate Ashe’s roof, which consists of two panels which proliferated in the 1970s and 80s (the each spanning the nominally 232-foot-wide Metrodome and Silverdome are prominent opening. The moveable panels are supportexamples). From this specialty, Geiger En- ed on custom-built wheeled bogies that run gineers has branched out into retractable on tracks along the north and south edges fabric roofs, tensile membrane structures, of the fixed roof. My job was to analyze the arenas, long-span roof systems and enter- bogies’ structure to ensure each was capable tainment engineering. Being a part of Geiger of handling the 140 kip maximum cable pull Engineers gives me the best of all worlds. I during operation as well as the maximum get to work on a wide range of projects from vertical load of 500 kips per bogie. arenas to retractable roof components to reBut back to some of my small projects, viewing outdoor stages for music festivals. which can also be very interesting. Geiger’s Right now I’m managing office is about 30 miles northseveral small projects (more west of New York City, and about that later) along with this means we also work on working on the construction a lot of small and sometimes phase of the new Louis Armlarge entertainment and event strong stadium at the U.S. projects – things like a 30Tennis Center in Queens, New foot long dragon on Lincoln York, where the U.S. Open is Center’s plaza for Game of held. The new Armstrong staThrones’ season 4 premiere dium will have a retractable or the reconfigurable tempoA custom-built wheeled bogie, roof and is scheduled to open part of the retractable roof on rary truss stage structures for in 2018. In the meantime, de- Arthur Ashe stadium at the Ten- Puebla’s 150th Cinco de Mayo tails of the project are under nis Center. celebration in Mexico or all

Study: Corn better food than fuel By Lois Youksolian rom an environmental standpoint, corn is better as food than as fuel. That’s the conclusion of a comprehensive, first-of-its-kind study by CEE Professor Praveen Kumar and Ph.D. student Meredith Richardson (MS 16), published in the journal Earth’s Future. Renewable biofuels can come with hidden economic and environmental issues, and the question of whether corn is better utilized as food or as a biofuel has persisted since ethanol came into use. For the first time, researchers at the University of Illinois have quantified and compared these issues in terms of economics of the entire production system and determined that the benefits of using corn for food outweigh those of using it for biofuel. CEE Professor Praveen Kumar and graduate student Meredith Richardson published their findings in the journal Earth’s Future. As part of a National Science Foundation project that is studying the environmental impact of agriculture in the U.S., the Illinois group introduced a comprehensive view of the agricultural system, called critical zone services, to analyze crops’ impacts on the environment in monetary terms.


A structure built for the Electric Zoo 2016 music festival in New York City.

of the outdoor structures and stages for the Electric Zoo 2016 music festival in New York City. I’ve had projects at Radio City Music Hall, the Reuters building and the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square, and Broadway theaters. The work is always different and more often than not has a very compressed time-frame. We have to be creative and think on our feet. At the moment, the absorbing small project I am working on is not entertainment but the retrofit of a ca. 1920s brick building in Manhattan. New York City has a surprisingly large number of very old building stock, much of it dating from the mid-1800s to early 1900s. In this case, when the building The corroded roof beam of a 1920s owners began reera brick building in pairing the roof’s Manhattan. south parapet it was discovered that the bearing ends of the steel roof beams were seriously corroded after what must have been decades of water infiltration through the concrete and masonry. After our site visit, we were left wondering how the roof had remained intact. The owner is a non-profit, so we are doing our best to work out retrofits for this roof that will allow repair without any shoring or extensive demolition and replacement. And as always I’m looking forward to the next engineering challenge, large or small! i

“The critical zone is the permeable layer of the landscape near the surface that The net social stretches from the top of the vegetation and economic down to the groundworth of food water,” Kumar said. “The human energy corn production and resource input in the U.S. is involved in agriculture production al- $1,492 per ters the composition hectare, versus a of the critical zone, which we are able to $10 per hectare convert into a social loss for biofuel cost.” To compare the corn production. energy efficiency and environmental impacts of corn production and processing for food and for biofuel, the researchers inventoried the resources required for corn production and processing, then determined the economic and environmental impact of using these resources – all defined in terms of energy available and expended, and normalized to cost in U.S. dollars. “There are a lot of abstract concepts to contend with when discussing humaninduced effects in the critical zone in agContinued on page 33

Praveen Kumar, Meredith Richardson Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association—Summer 20172525 Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association—Summer 2017

“I strongly believe that [coming to the University of Illinois] was the best decision I have ever made. The education has enabled me to achieve a lifetime of many accomplishments.”


Alumni Q&A Tomorrow’s Illini civil and environmental engineers have a few questions for today’s CEE senior Enrique Aragon interviews CEE alumnus Thomas C. H. Lum (MS 59)

Enrique Aragon is a CEE senior with a primary in construction management and a secondary in structural engineering. He is a tutor for CARE and the engineering council representative for the student chapter of the Structural Engineers Association. Aragon has interned at Tribco Construction Services as a field engineer. Tribco is a concrete subcontractor in Chicago, and Aragon was working on a residential high-rise building in Lakeview during summer 2016. Upon graduation, he will be working full-time with Tribco Construction Services. 26 26

Thomas C. H. Lum (MS 59) is a retired structural engineer whose career involved serving in the U.S. Army and private practice. His projects included working on the team that designed the first Polaris missile submarines and serving as lead engineer in the design and construction of the memorial over the wreck of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor. In addition to his degree from Illinois, Lum holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Washington University in St. Louis and did additional graduate work at the University of California at Berkeley and at George Washington Unversity.

Please tell me more about your background and how you got interested in Civil Engineering? I was born and raised in Hawaii and served in the army before attending college. I graduated from Washington University, St. Louis, Mo. with a degree in Architectural Engineering. Upon graduation, I was employed by an architectural company is St Louis. With apparent good grades in structures, I was asked to work in the special structure division of the company. The work was highly unusual and required a thorough knowledge of energy methods for solving problems. After two years, I returned to Hawaii and was hired as a Naval Architect doing structural work on Naval vessels. I was then sent to the graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley to study ship design, with the emphasis on submarine design. I was then sent to Washington, D.C., to work on the design of the first Polaris Missile submarine. I was also sent to the graduate school at George Washington University, for further studies in structures. It was then that I decided to attend a graduate school to work on a degree in structures. It was now June; I had a discussion with my professor on which graduate school. It boiled down to three schools; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Although it was June, he promised to get me into all three schools. He kept his word. How did you come to pick Illinois to get your master’s degree? I now had a very difficult decision: Which university? I finally decided on Illinois. I decided to get married just prior to leaving for graduate school and selected Illinois because of the curriculum and research facility; there would also be no other distractions. My new wife was also able to get a teaching job in Urbana.

The USS Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

How did that decision to come to Illinois impact your career and your life? In retrospect, I strongly believe that was the best decision I have ever made. The education has enabled me to achieve a lifetime of many accomplishments. What is the most memorable project you have been a part of during your career? The most memorable of all projects was the Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Describe how you first approached designing the memorial for the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It was less than six months after I had received my M.S. from Illinois. Fortunately, I had acquired knowledge of prestressed concrete – pretension and post-tension – and behavior in research at Talbot lab. Bear in mind that prestressed concrete had only been introduced in the U.S. about four years prior to my studies at Illinois. When this project was proposed, I was only a junior engineer. Fortunately,

only a few in the company had knowledge of prestressed concrete. The design indicated that prestressed concrete was the only possible solution. What aspects of the design were most important to you? The memorial would be straddled over remains of the battleship and supports could only be placed clear of the remains; a clear span of 110 feet. In addition, the memorial would be cantilevered 37 feet from both supports – a total of length 184 feet. What aspects of that project were the most challenging? The foundation was a problem. The water depth was about 40 feet. There was soft mud for another 40 feet with denser mud for another 40 feet. The mud was stiffer after that depth. Also, there was no bedrock or coral. Pretensioned, prestressed concrete piles driven to a depth of about 150 feet were used for the foundations. Sample piles were used to have loads tested to

200 percent of design capacity. Some piles were battered. The main supports for the structure were two post-tensioned and grouted girders spanning the entire distance. These girders support the entire concrete structure. The girder and foundation design were the most important ingredients in the design. The memorial has since been remodeled and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012. Are there any other projects you’ve worked on that you’re particularly proud of? I have since done many other structures, including high-rise buildings, freeway viaducts, airports, etc. Completing these projects has been very satisfying. What advice would you give students in CEE at Illinois today? The only suggestion I would give to students is: to solve any problem, always ask yourself: “What do I expect for an answer?” Doing the calculations is only to confirm your expectations. If it doesn’t you must ask yourself, “WHY?” i

Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association—Summer 2017 2727 Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association—Summer 2017

2017 STUDENT AWARDS Held April 1, 2017 I-Hotel and Conference Center Champaign, Illinois

A. Epstein Award in Civil Engineering Ajay Bhojwani

CH2M Hill Transportation Endowed Scholarship Alex Kendzior

Alvord, Burdick, and Howson Scholarship Megan Fox

Charles E. DeLeuw Travel Award Raphael Stern

Anna Lee and James T.P. Yao Scholarship Meijun Liu ASCE Award Outstanding Student Award Radha Avudaiappan ASCE Outstanding Instructor Award Franklin Lombardo Bates and Rogers Scholarship Shiyao Sun Timothy Sam Bernard Delbert Murphy Scholarship in Civil and Environmental Engineering Michael Bianchini Deisy Diaz Gonzalez Aliaa Taha Bob Zieba Memorial Scholarship Kyle Bathgate Denzel McCauley Bowman, Barrett and Associates Outstanding Scholar Award Xiaodan Du C.S. and Ruth Monnier Scholarship Kevin Grygo Sarah Fiala Matthias Zajdela Carroll C. Wiley Traveling Award Thomas Roadcap CEE Excellence Award on Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring Scott Olson CEEAA Undergraduate Service Leadership Scholarship Sherif ElMasry

Katie Garibaldi (left) and Gloria Frank receive the Loreta and Silvio Corsetti Memorial Scholarship and Fellowship Fund, presented by Jeff Roesler.

28 28 28

Duane Edward and Phyllis Ann Erickson Memorial Scholarship in Civil and Environmental Engineering Yanbing Wang Earle J. Wheeler Scholarship Nathan Tomerlin Christopher Giebel

Chester P. Siess Award Negin Alemazkoor Jorge San Juan Blanco

Eli W. Cohen – Thornton Tomasetti Foundation Scholarship Martina Guerrero

Chicago Outer Belt Contractors Association Scholarship Cody Simpson Civil Engineering Class of 1943 Undergraduate Leadership Award Siddhant Chawla

Epstein Faculty Award Bill Spencer Eric J. Kerestes Memorial Scholarship Fund Konstandinos Zavos

Clement C. Lee Outstanding Scholar Award in Honor of Houssam Mahmoud Karara Arthur Tseng

George C Eisenmayer & Ida E Scheve Endowment Karolina Urban Theodore Mossman Sam Swislow David Casillas

Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute Scholarship Francisco Frausto Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc., Scholarship Luke Hoppenworth

George L. Farnsworth, Jr. Scholarship Jacqueline Glattard Jessica Wiegand

Dan and Mary Guill Scholarship Katherine Bohorquez David A. Windland Construction Management Scholarship Nicholas Reynolds Luke Hanselman Andrea Lucas Delores Wade Huber Scholarship Nathaniel Zipperich Zachary Cinq-Mars Nada Naffakh Eugene Kim DFI Educational Trust Charles J. Berkel Memorial Scholarship Tomasz Rutkowski Emiliano Alvarez Joseph Binkowski

Xiaodan Du receives the Bowman, Barrett and Associates Outstanding Scholar Award, presented by Jim Daum.

Geotechnical Scholarship Gift Hua Shao Grant W. Shaw Memorial Scholarship Eric Etzwiler Matthew Hui Harold R. Sandberg Scholarship Hua Shao Henry T. Heald Award Kunal Patel Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association Scholarship Orman Erman Gungor Arturo Espinoza Luque

Brandon Morse (left) receives the William E. Stallman Scholarship in Civil and Environmental Engineering, presented by Bill Stallman.

Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association—Summer 2017 29 29

Professor C. Armando Duarte has been selected as Fellow of the U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics. The Fellows Award recognizes individuals with a distinguished record of research, accomplishment and publication in areas of computational mechanics.

C. Armando Duarte

Nora El-Gohary

Gary Parker elected to National Academy of Sciences

Assistant Professor Nora El-Gohary has received a 2017 Campus Distinguished Promotion Award, given to those scholars whose contributions were exceptional in terms of quality of work and overall achievement. Associate Professor Larry A. Fahnestock has been recognized as a Structural Engineering Institute Fellow.

Larry Fahnestock

William Gamble

Yuguang Fu has been awarded the Yee Fellowship for the 2017-2018 academic year. Professor William L. Gamble (MS 61, PhD 62) has been selected by the Structural Engineering Institute to receive the 2017 T.Y. Lin Award for the paper, “Phi-Factors Revisited,” Concrete International, December 2015.

Professor Marcelo Garcia has been formally named Director of the Ven Te Chow Hydrosystems Laboratory. Associate Professor Mani Golparvar-Fard (PhD 10) has been selected as one of this year’s Engineering News Record (ENR) Magazine Top 20 Under 40 Honorees. He also won the Hojjat Adeli Award for Innovation in Computing, for his journal paper “Non Uniform B-Spline Surface Fitting from Unordered 3D Point Clouds for As-Built Modeling,” published at Wiley Journal of ComputerAided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering. Assistant Professor Jeremy Guest has been named a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study for the 20172018 academic year.

Continued on page 33 30


rofessor Gary Parker was among 84 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for 2017. Membership in the NAS is one of the highest honors a scientist can achieve and is granted in recognition of “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.” Parker is the first CEE at Illinois faculty member to achieve this honor since Nathan M. Newmark 51 years ago. “I thank the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering for providing the very friendly and stimulating environment that made this possible,” Parker said. “My two departments, CEE and Geology, and the University as a whole, have been outstanding places to be for the last 12-and-a-half years.” Parker joined the Environmental Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering faculty in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE at Illinois) in 2005. He holds a B.S. from the Department of Mechanics and Materials Science of John Hopkins University and a Ph.D. from the Department of Civil Engineering

From left, Estela Canga, Professor Marcelo H. Garcia, Waraporn Parker and Gary Parker at a reception honoring the campus NAS inductees..

at the University of Minnesota. In addition to his position on the CEE at Illinois faculty, Parker holds a 25 percent appointment in the Department of Geology, where he is the W.H. Johnson Professor of Geology. Parker’s research interests are in morphodynamics, the study of the evolution of landscapes and seascapes in response to the erosion and deposition of sediment, associated with rivers, debris flows and turbidity currents. His work on meandering rivers led to his selection as winner of the 7th Prince Abdul Aziz Surface Water Prize, awarded at the United Nations headquarters in New York in November 2016. Parker has received numerous other honors over the years, including the Hunter Rouse Hydraulic Engineering Award (2016), the Water Resources Research Editor’s Choice Award (2014), the American Geophysical Union G. K. Gilbert Award (2014), and the BSG Wiley Blackwell Award (2012). He appears frequently on the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students. i


“Smart” prestressing system can be monitored, adjusted


mart materials promise a better method for prestressing concrete railroad crossties, according to a current project by CEE researchers. Led by CEE Associate Professor Bassem O. Andrawes, the researchers have designed a prestressing system for concrete crossties that uses smart materials to allow a more efficient system that can be monitored and adjusted in the field. “The cracking of prestressed concrete crossties is one of the most critical issues related to the safety, durability and serviceability of railroad track systems,” Andrawes said. Concrete crossties are prestressed with steel strands to provide a compressive strength that offsets the tensile stresses the ties will undergo during use on a railroad track. Conventional systems apply constant prestressing to the entire length of the crosstie to achieve the desired strength, but the reality of use leads to more loading in certain areas of the tie, depending on support conditions, loads and even climate conditions. As a result, conventional systems are inefficient and

lead to earlier degradation of the ties. With the evolution of high-speed rail, concrete crossties will experience greater stresses, and the stakes will get higher for derailments, making stronger crossties an even higher priority, Andrawes said. The new method being tested at Illinois, called the Adaptive Prestressing System (APS), promises to improve the safety and longevity of the ties by allowing the more precise, efficient prestressing of the crossties. It does this by utilizing shapememory alloys (SMAs), a type of smart material that “remembers” its original

Bassem Andrawes, far right, and Ph.D. students Rishabh Singhvi, left, and Hang Zhao (MS 13) pose with some concrete railroad ties in the Newmark Lab crane bay.

shape, so it can be deformed as needed and then will return to its pre-deformed state when heated. Short SMA “fuses” are implanted in series with the prestress wires throughout the concrete crossties. The fuses can be triggered with an electrical current that applies the necessary heat to activate the SMAs’ memories, causing them to recover their shape and apply stress to the prestress wires. This can be done at any time – in the plant before shipping, in the field during placement, or even at some later time in the service life of the tie. Maintenance teams can inspect and test the level of prestressing in the crossties while in service, adjusting the level of prestressing force where it is needed. The method will be cost-effective, Andrawas said, because it will utilize an alloy made of iron, nickel, cobalt and titanium, which is less expensive than the SMAs that are commonly used in the biomedical and aerospace industries. The team is testing the new system through a combination of computer modeling and full-scale physical testing. This research is being funded by the Transportation Research Board. i

Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association—Summer 2017 31

Just a few self-driving cars can improve traffic flow


he presence of just a few autonomous vehicles can eliminate the stop-andgo driving of the human drivers in traffic, along with the accident risk and fuel inefficiency it causes, according to new research. The finding indicates that selfdriving cars and related technology may be even closer to revolutionizing traffic control than previously thought. “Our experiments show that with as few as 5 percent of vehicles being automated and carefully controlled, we can eliminate stop-and-go waves caused by human driving behavior,” said CEE Assistant Professor Daniel B. Work, a lead researcher in the study. The use of autonomous vehicles to regulate traffic flow is the next innovation in the rapidly evolving science of traffic monitoring and control, Work said. Just as fixed traffic sensors have been replaced by crowd-sourced GPS data in many navigation systems, the use of selfdriving cars is poised to replace classical freeway traffic control concepts like variable speed limits. Critical to the success of this innovation is a deeper understanding of the dynamic between autonomous vehicles and human drivers on the road. Funded by the National Science Foundation’s Cyber-Physical Systems program, the research was led by a multi-disciplinary team of researchers with expertise in traffic flow theory, control theory, robotics, cyber-physical systems, and transportation engineering. Principal investigators (PIs) were: Benedetto Piccoli, the Joseph and Loretta Lopez Chair Professor of Mathematics at Rutgers University, Camden; Benjamin Seibold, associate professor of Mathematics at Temple University; Jonathan Sprinkle, the Litton Industries 32

John M. Leonis Distinguished Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Arizona, Tucson; and Daniel B. Work, assistant professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The team conducted field experiments in Tucson, Arizona, in which a single autonomous vehicle circled a track continuously with at least 20 other human-driven cars. Under normal circumstances, human drivers naturally create stop-and-go traffic, even in the absence of bottlenecks, lane changes, merges or other disruptions, Work said. This phenomenon is called the “phantom traffic jam.” Researchers found that by controlling the pace of the autonomous car in the study, they were able to smooth out the traffic flow for all the cars. For the first time, researchers demonstrated experimentally that even a small percentage of such vehicles can have a significant impact on the road, eliminating waves and reducing the total fuel consumption by up to 40 percent. Moreover, the researchers found that conceptually simple and easy to implement control strategies can achieve the goal. Researchers found that by controlling the pace of the autonomous car in the study, they were able to smooth out the traffic flow for all cars. "Before we carried out these experiments, I did not know how straightforward it could be to positively affect the Point your QR code reader here to view a video of the experiment.

flow of traffic," Sprinkle said. "I assumed we would need sophisticated control techniques, but what we showed was that controllers which are staples of undergraduate control theory will do the trick." This latest research suggests that even the related technology available now – such as adaptive cruise control – has the power to improve traffic even before there are large numbers of autonomous vehicles on the road. "Fully autonomous vehicles in common traffic may be still far away in the future due to many technological, market and policy constraints," Piccoli said. "However, increased communication among vehicles and increased levels of autonomy in human-driven vehicles is in the near future." The near future with only a few autonomous vehicles on the road is more challenging than the far future in which all vehicles are connected, Seibold said. "The proper design of autonomous vehicles requires a profound understanding of the reaction of humans to them,” Seibold said, “and traffic experiments play a crucial role in understanding this interplay of human and robotic agents." The researchers say the next step will be to study the impact of autonomous vehicles in denser traffic with more freedom granted to the human drivers, such as the ability to change lanes. The paper describing this work, “Dissipation of stop-and-go waves via control of autonomous vehicles: Field experiments,” is available online at https://arxiv. org/abs/1705.01693. This work is funded by the National Science Foundation. i

John de Dios, Alan Davis

“With as few as 5 percent of vehicles being automated and carefully controlled, we can eliminate stop-and-go waves caused by human driving behavior.” ­

Ouyang named Krambles Professor


rofessor Yanfeng Ouyang has been named the George Krambles Endowed Professor in Rail and Public Transit. The professorship supports a faculty member who is “an outstanding, internationally recognized individual, whose teaching and research advance engineering practices and develop new technologies vital to the transportation industry.” Ouyang joined the faculty in 2005. He teaches courses in systems engineering and economics, transportation engineering, public transportation systems, and logistics systems. The professorship was established in honor of George Krambles, a 1936 graduate of the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Krambles spent the majority of his career at the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), where he eventually became Executive Director. To support students interested in the transportation field, he established the George Krambles Transit

Scholarship Fund, which provided assistance to many students who would go on to become industry leaders. After his death in 1999, Krambles’ estate bequeathed a substantial amount to the Scholarship Fund; the Fund’s Board of Directors in turn created the endowed professorship “as a testament to his energy, dedication, and commitment to the future of the industry.” “I am really honored to be associated with Mr. George Krambles, who is one of the most prominent figures in the history of the U.S. public transit industry,” said Ouyang. “My work on public transportation and railroad systems engineering addresses some of the challenges to which Mr. Krambles dedicated his entire career, such as those related to mobility, resilience, sustainability and safety. I am very fortunate to be able to work on these important problems in a very stimulating, collegial and supportive environment here in CEE.” An investiture will be held this fall. i

Continued from page 30

Professor Wen-Tso Liu has been awarded an affiliate appointment in the Infection Genomics for One Health Research Theme in the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology.

their role as reviewers of manuscripts, members of the EAB participate in an annual meeting and assist in the evaluation and ranking of papers nominated for the best papers of the year competition.

Assistant Professor Yujie Men has been awarded an affiliate appointment in the Infection Genomics for One Health Research Theme in the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology.

Professor Jeffery Roesler has been named a Levenick Teaching Fellow by the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment, and will co-teach the fall 2017 ENVS 492 course that will provide capstone research projects for the campuswide undergraduate sustainability minor at Illinois.

Associate Professor Thanh Helen Nguyen has been invited to join the Editorial Advisory Board (EAB) of Environmental Science & Technology. This role provides the editors with insights Helen Nguyen into how the journal can best serve its authors, reviewers, and readers. In addition to maintaining

Professor Timothy Stark has been elected as Vice President of the North American Chapter of the International Geosynthetics Society. Stark was also the Keynote Speaker for the Annual Meeting of the California Geotechnical Association in Hawaii. Assistant Professor Ashlynn Stillwell’s MS student, Jimmy Canning, received a Safe Water Scholarship Award from the Illinois Section of the American Water Works Association.

Corn: better food than fuel Continued from page 25

ricultural areas,” Richardson said. “We want to present it in a way that will show the equivalent dollar value of the human energy expended in agricultural production and how much we gain when corn is used as food versus biofuel.” Kumar and Richardson accounted for numerous factors in their analysis, including assessing the energy required to prepare and maintain the landscape for agricultural production for corn and its conversion to biofuel. Then they quantified the environmental benefits and impacts in terms of critical zone services, representing the effects on the atmosphere, water quality and corn’s societal value, both as food and fuel.In monetary terms, their results show that the net social and economic worth of food corn production in the U.S. is $1,492 per hectare, versus a $10 per hectare loss for biofuel corn production. “One of the key factors lies in the soil,” Richardson said. The assessment considered both short-term and longterm effects, such as nutrients and carbon storage in the soil. “We found that most of the environmental impacts came from soil nutrient fluxes. Soil’s role is often overlooked in this type of assessment, and viewing the landscape as a critical zone forces us to include that,” she said. “Using corn as a fuel source seems to be an easy path to renewable energy,” said Richard Yuretich, the NSF program director for Critical Zone Observatories. “However, this research shows that the environmental costs are much greater, and the benefits fewer, than using corn for food.” i The National Science Foundation supported this research through the Grants for Intensively Managed Landscapes Critical Zone Observatory.

Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association—Summer 2017 33


New statue honors women in engineering


new life-sized statue honoring women in engineering, “The Quintessential Engineer,” was officially unveiled and dedicated on Friday, April 28. The statue stands directly across the quad from the main lobby of Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory. Funded by a gift from Texas Instruments (TI), the statue resulted from a grassroots campaign begun by a College of Engineering student. “The new statue celebrates women engineers and their contributions to bettering our world through engineering,” said Andreas Cangellaris, dean of the College of Engineering. “For the past several years, Engineering at Illinois has worked hard to increase the diversity of both our students and faculty, especially the number of women who chose engineering as their profession. We very much appreciate this gift from Texas Instruments as it reflects their interest and support for these efforts.”

Based on acceptances of offers of admission, CEE’s 2017-2018 freshman class promises to contain the largest percentage of women students in CEE history, at around 33 percent.


“Engineers are problem solvers, and problem solving requires diverse thinking represented by different world views, including gender diversity,” said Peter Balyta, President of TI Education Technology and vice president of academic engagements and corporate citizenship. “It’s TI’s hope that this statue will inspire current and future female university students to make a natural connection between their talents and their career aspirations, and that they will choose engineering.” The idea for the statue first arose with Electrical and Computer Engineering alumna Sakshi Srivastava, who was a junior in electrical engineering when she started the movement behind the project. “I stumbled across an article about how public art conveys the sentiments of a community,” Srivastava said. “I realized that having a statue erected can show our commitment to younger students that we endorse their dreams.” An international student from Allahabad, India, Srivastava created an online petition and helped develop resolutions that were supported by the Illinois Student Senate and Academic Senate. Those resolutions asked the College of Engineering to create a committee to explore possible locations and candidates for a statue. She is pleased with TI’s support of the project, and sees it as a validation of the time she had invested since June 2013 to make the statue a reality. Entitled “The Quintessential Engineer,” the statue was created by Chicago sculptor Julie Rotblatt-Amrany, who described her motivation for the design: “The face, the expression is one of wonder, exploration, and knowledge, one of curiosity and perseverance. She represents a multi-racial female, a young professional woman at work. … always thinking, on the move. ... This piece is meant to engage the University’s students, faculty and visitors. It reflects the era in which

“The Quintessential Engineer” is a new statue honoring women in engineering. It stands in the quad across from Newmark Lab and was created by Chicago sculptor Julie Rotblatt-Amrany.

she is from. It is about the engineer’s journey. There is space for the observer to interpret what will be in her future; it allows for mystery and engagement.” “The Quintessential Engineer” reflects Rotblatt-Amrany philosophy as well. “As a female artist I can honestly say that 90% of the figures that I do sculpt are men,” Rotblatt-Amrany said. “This needs to change so that women can be empowered through their work world. Young women need to have icons to look up to as well. The scales seem to be unbalanced; we are late in equalizing the paradigm shift. I was so pleased to be chosen as the artist for this project. It really means a lot to me.” Previously, Julie Rotblatt-Amrany has developed a number of well-known statues, including the Michael Jordan (with her husband, Omri Amrany) and Scottie Pippen statues housed at the United Center in Chicago and a bas relief bronze of Abraham Lincoln that resides in the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield. i


2000s Jared M. Green (MS 02) was chosen to the Engi-

neering News Record New York 20 Under 40, and was also selected to be the convocation speaker for the College of Engineering and Computer Science at his undergraduate alma mater, Syracuse University. Sean M. Widener (BS 01), PE, of Clark Dietz Inc. has been appointed to a one-year term on the Illinois Municipal League Risk Management Association board.

1990s Daniel E. Agramonte (MS 94) was named Geor-

gia Engineer of the Year during Georgia Engineer Week, sponsored by the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers. Brian S. Heil (BS 96, MS 97), project manager at Oates Associates, received a Merit Award from the Engineers’ Club of St. Louis in honor of his distinguished service to the organization. Neel R. Khosa (BS 99) was given the 2017 PostTensioning Institute (PTI) Fellow Award for his outstanding long-term contributions to PTI and the industry. Tom Stuit (BS 97) has been promoted to Vice President for James McHugh Construction Co. Tracy L. Willer (BS 97), EIT, an engineer intern, recently celebrated 20 years with Hanson Professional Service Inc. in Springfield, Ill. Since joining the firm in 1997, she has provided inspection surveys, environmental site assessments, permitting, site observations and quality assurance for airports; dams; hospitals; and industrial, power generation, rail and communication facilities.

Witmer receives Illinois International Graduate Achievement Award Ann-Perry Witmer


EE at Illinois alumna — and current PhD student in Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) — Ann-Perry Witmer (BS 02, MS 16) has received the Illinois International Graduate Achievement Award. The award recognizes an Illinois graduate student "whose innovative and sustained international research or public service abroad has had the greatest impact (or has the greatest potential impact) on the University, larger community, or internationally." Witmer, who also holds undergraduate degrees in journalism and art history, began her career as a newspaper journalist. A decision to explore other professional options eventually brought her to CEE at Illinois, where she earned a bachelor's degree. After graduation, she began work as a water supply engineer for a consulting firm in Wisconsin. But it was while working with the Wisconsin chapter of the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) charity, helping poor international communities develop safe water supplies, that her path in engineering became more focused. Her experiences with the AWWA charity and, later, an organization she helped establish with similar goals, led her to conclude that finding durable and sustainable solutions

for developing areas requires more than technology and traditional engineering techniques. She believes successful projects require consideration and incorporation of the knowledge, values, beliefs and practices of the communities involved. The College of Engineering engaged Witmer to teach a course (ENG 398/598, the Honduras Water Project) about what she had learned while working with developing communities. She went on to earn her M.S. in civil engineering in 2016. Her research group seeks to understand how non-engineering influences affect the success or failure of a project in the developing world, and how to incorporate those influences into engineering solutions. “It’s sort of mind-blowing to receive this recognition from the University,” Witmer said. “I’m definitely doing work that is on the wild frontier of engineering, and it’s a challenge to gain traction when you’re advocating the notion that engineering design has to meld sociopolitical understanding right into the technical considerations. ... I’m deeply grateful to the University for providing that recognition.” i

CEE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION Nominations invited: CEE Alumni Awards

Interested in serving on the CEEAA Board of Directors?

Know any outstanding CEE Illini? The Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award and the Young Alumnus/Alumna Achievement Award recognize those who have distinguished themselves in the field at different career stages. The next deadline is August 1, 2017. For more information, visit

The CEE Alumni Association Board of Directors celebrated its 50-year anniversary in 2013. If you are interested in serving the department as a board member, fill out an online application at cee.illinois. edu/alumni. For more information, contact Celeste Arbogast, celeste@illinois. edu. (217) 333-6955.

Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association—Summer 2017 35


Willmer receives Lifetime Achievement Award from Georgia Society of Professional Engineers


EE alumna Doris I. Willmer (BS 72, MS 73), P.E., FASCE, FACEC, Founder and President of Willmer Engineering Inc. of Atlanta, Ga., was given a 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers. Willmer is a Past President of the American Council of Engineering Companies/Georgia and has served as Georgia’s National Director. She served a five-year term on the Georgia State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, with two years as chair. Her numerous awards include a 2010 CEE at Illinois Distinguished Alumna Award, the 2009 ACEC/G President’s Award, 2004 Georgia Engineering Alliance Engineer of the Year in Private Practice, May 2002 Competitive Edge Magazine Woman in Business Profile, and 1983 GSPE Young Engineer of the Year. She is actively involved in middle school and collegiate mentoring programs and served five years as chair of Georgia Engineers Week Introduce a Girl to Engineering luncheon. The Willmers have been longtime, generous supporters of Illinois, providing scholarships and


lab space and giving to the CEE Trust. Willmer will be the keynote speaker this fall at the We Go CEE event designed to encourage women to pursue master’s degrees. She is married to Jim Willmer (BS 71, MS 72). Their two children are also Illinois graduates: Sabrina (LAS 02) and James Carl (LAS 02). Willmer writes: “Being nominated by my peers was a wonderful surprise and very humbling. This recognition is usually awarded to a retiring or retired engineer, so my immediate response when asked to submit my application was ‘I’m not retired, didn’t announce my retirement and don’t plan on retiring any time soon! Are you sure you want me?’ “Based on my selection, I believe they did, and the rest is history. I have been amazed by the positive and kind responses from my peers both male and female in the engineering profession, as well as individuals from other professions. I had no idea this acknowledgement would strike such a chord with such a diverse group of folks, especially outside of the engineering profession. “This recognition also reflects the influence from others that have shaped me – most of all my husband and children, and my parents, teachers and professional colleagues. There will never be enough time to thank each of them for their influence on me, retired or not!!” i Photo by Matt Druin, Matthew Druin + Co. Photography, courtesy of Engineering Georgia magazine Point your QR code reader here to watch a video about Willmer’s award.

1980s Paula C. Pienton (BS 85) was named T.Y. Lin’s Central Region Director. As Region Director she will be managing the firm’s Chicago office.

Clifford W. (Wayne) Swafford (BS 78, MS 82) has joined planning, engineering and program management firm Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam Inc. (LAN) as executive vice presiWayne Swafford dent. In this role, Swafford will be responsible for the direction and operation of the LAN brand.

1970s Bruce R. Ellingwood (BS 68, MS 69, PhD 72), P.E., Dist.

M. ASCE, F. SEI, NAE, professor of civil engineering and college of engineering Eminent Scholar at Colorado State University, was honored by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of five 2017 Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) award winners. Wilbur C. (Charlie) Greer (BS 71, MS 73) has received the 2016 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Robert J. Horonjeff Award. The award is given by the Air Transport Division of the Charlie Greer ASCE Transportation & Development Institute to recognize a person for outstanding achievement in, and contributions to, the field of air transportation engineering. Charles N. Haas (PhD 78) has been awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society for Risk Analysis for his development of the field of quantitative microbial risk analysis. He remains as Head of the Drexel University Department of Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering, in which he is in his 14th year. Sergio A. (Satch) Pecori (BS 73, MS 74), Hanson Professional Services Inc.’s chairman and CEO, has become chairman of the American Council of Engineering Companies. John R. Wolosick (BS 78, MS 79) was named Engineer of the Year in Industry by the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers.


Alumnus visits campus for the first time — for graduation


yan Hazelwood’s (MS 16) first and only visit to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus took place in December 2016, when he graduated with his master’s degree in the CEE Online program. Hazelwood, who earned his bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Utah in 2012, is a Design Engineer in the Structural Engineering and Land Development departments for Ensign Engineering in Utah. After deciding that he needed a master’s degree in order to further develop his career as an engineer, and in particular to move toward a management role, Hazelwood sought out a program that would allow him to learn more about the fields of structural engineering and construction management, but would not require that he move away or leave his position. “I chose CEE Online because I wanted a top-notch, internationally respected education and I needed a program that fit my life,” Hazelwood said. “I was already engaged and working as an engineer when I chose to go back to school. Leaving my career and attending a well-respected school [would have] meant also uprooting my soon-to-be wife’s life. The online program at [Illinois] offered me the best of both worlds.” Hazelwood said the array of classes available to him through CEE Online far exceeded the options he would have had at a local university. Additionally, he found that some of his classes had immediate relevancy to his career. “I was able to take information I learned in the classroom one day, and apply it to my job the next day,” he said.

Students in the online program follow the same lecture schedule and timing for assignments, projects and exams as their on-campus counterparts. To keep up, Hazelwood kept to a strict schedule in order to manage his coursework. He “attended class” in his office every night after dinner, and blocked out time on the weekends for catching up on class videos and homework if needed. If he was traveling, he downloaded lecture videos and watched them while flying or riding in a car. Coordinating meetings with other students was sometimes a challenge, but manageable with technology. “We just communicated through email and Skype to coordinate projects,” he said. “For me, communicating through email and cloud-based documents is more like what I do day-to-day at my job anyway. I didn’t find it an inconvenience.” Hazelwood’s decision to come to campus to attend the graduation ceremony was influenced by a mix of personal and professional reasons. The occasion was meaningful to his family, and the ceremony provided an opportunity for them to gather and celebrate his accomplishment. Additionally, he wanted to use the opportunity to network with the faculty and his peers. “I knew the names of many of my classmates and professors but had never met them face-to-face,” he said. “Commencement provided a perfect opportunity to introduce myself. Online schooling was great in many ways but it did leave me wanting some of the networking that traditional students experience. Attending commencement was one way for me to fill this void.” Hazelwood believes the degree he

Ryan Hazelwood (right) with Professor Jeffery Roesler, Associate Head for Graduate Affairs, in the Newmark Lab crane bay at the Dec. 17, 2016, reception for CEE graduates.

earned has given him a great foundation — as well as the tools — for a successful career. He said the experience was better than he could have imagined, and he would recommend the program to others, especially professionals with supportive employers. “The only thing I didn’t anticipate was that older professionals didn’t always understand the CEE Online program and how it works,” Hazelwood said. “They often thought that it was ‘at my own pace’ or an off-shoot of the ‘real’ program. Once I explained the program and how the lectures, projects, et cetera, work, they were more appreciative of the program. The key parts I emphasized were the mixing of on-campus and online students in group projects, that I watched lectures that were taped live earlier that day (or week in some cases), and that the requirements, when compared to traditional students, were exactly the same.” “Sometimes, I would joke that the only difference is that I have an easier commute,” he said. i

Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association—Summer 2017 37


Graduation 2017: Milhouse speaks, grads gather in crane bay

raduating students at the May 13, 2017 College of Engineering convocation received some words of wisdom from Civil and Environmental Engineering alumnus Wilbur C. Milhouse III (BS 94, MS 95), who delivered the keynote address at the ceremony.

Omer Rehman (BS 16) spoke at the graduation reception to thank faculty and staff.

Nanaissa Maiga (BS 17), left, with Professor David Lange and Maiga’s mother, Fatoumata Konare. Lange is holding a “Door to Timbuktu,” given to him by Maiga’s parents; her father is from Timbuktu, Mali. Maiga will be joining Lange’s research group as a graduate student this fall.

Wilbur Milhouse, left, pictured with CEE Professor and Head Benito Mariñas at the CEE Graduation Reception in the Newmark Lab crane bay in May.



and problem solvers, and that it takes new ways of thinking to solve the current problems facing the world. He encouraged them to think outside of the box and consider new solutions to make the world a better place. “Aspire to be awesome and do great things,” he concluded. Milhouse is a Licensed Professional Engineer in nine states. He is founder, President and CEO of Milhouse Engineering and Construction Inc. in Chicago, as well as of affiliated companies Milhouse International, Milhouse Construction and Milhouse Snow. His firm regularly appears on the list of Chicago’s 101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For, and the company received the Stellar Star Award at the National Organization of Minority Engineers’ Leadership Summit in 2016. Milhouse is a longtime, generous supporter of Illinois, making gifts in support of scholarships and facilities. He founded Milhouse Charities, a private philanthropic foundation which supports education in the STEM fields and bringing young people into the engineering and power professions. i

Calling the graduates “survivors,” Milhouse pointed out that they are standing on the shoulders of the greats who came before them, and that they are now part of an elite club of individuals. As they move forward in life, he asked them to remember three things: “Eat the frog first.” “Send the elevator back down.” “Get out of the box.” In other words, if there is a frog on the dinner plate every day that must be eaten, it is best to eat it first, he said. Get the hardest task out of the way at the beginning. Additionally, Milhouse, himself a philanthropist, noted that when professional success has been achieved, an obligation exists to ‘send the elevator back down’ to help others achieve their goals. He urged the new graduates to give opportunities to others when they are in a position to do so. Finally, Milhouse reminded the graduates that they are today’s engineers


John T. Pfeffer

Former faculty member (1935-2017)

Alejandro Alvarez Reyes (MS 17), right, holds his son, Pedro, at the CEE graduation reception.

Former CEE Professor John T. Pfeffer died March 3. He was 81. He received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Cincinnati, and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida, Gainesville, in environmental engineering. He began his career at Kansas University (1962-1967), and moved to the University of Illinois to become professor of environmental engineering from 1967 to 1996, when he retired. During his career, Pfeffer was involved in research and teaching, resulting in many publications. He had several research grants, which supported graduate students. He was also active

John T. Pfeffer circa 1980s

in university and community relations. Pfeffer’s public service included tenure with Illinois Environmental Control Agencies. He served as trustee for the UrbanaChampaign Sanitary District for 18 years. He served as a consultant for environmental issues both nationally and locally, and received numerous awards.

1970s Dale A. Bathon (BS 79) died Feb. 18. He

A little civil engineering humor and some bling graces a graduate’s cap.

was 60. He served as a dedicated public servant for more than 35 years for a number of entities in Illinois and Florida.

1940s William A. Randolph (BS 47) died

William A. Randolph (above) during his WWII service and (inset) more recently. Photos courtesy of his daughter, Alison R. Barker.

Nov. 11, 2016. He was 93. He served in the Corps of Engineers in the Philippines during World War II. Randolph founded the general contracting firm of William A. Randolph Co., in 1957, a company which constructed durable infrastructure throughout northern Illinois. Projects included wastewater treatment plants, bridges, nuclear power plants, chemical plants, and others.

Vivian Wong (BS 17), left, and Zaiqin Jiang (BS 17). Civil Civiland andEnvironmental EnvironmentalEngineering EngineeringAlumni AlumniAssociation—Summer Association—Summer2017 2017 3939

Distinguished Alumni Award winners Alan Poeppel (left) and Gerald Olson chat while their guests pick up place cards for the dinner event.

2017 ALUMNI AWARDS DINNER Chicago-area alumni, CEE faculty, students and friends of the department gathered March 8 at the Union League Club in Chicago for the annual CEE at Illinois Alumni Awards Dinner. The event included a cocktail reception, dinner, a department update by Department Head Benito J. Mariñas, and presentation of the CEE Alumni Association awards. Earlier that day, a group of CEE students had the opportunity to tour Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab). The department sincerely thanks Fermilab and Tracy Lundin (BS 80, MS 82) for hosting the students. More photos are available on the CEE at Illinois Facebook account:


2017 ALUMNI DINNER SPONSORS GOLD Alfred Benesch & Company Burns & McDonnell Greeley and Hansen Hayward Baker Inc. Langan Milhouse Engineering & Construction Sargent & Lundy LLC Trotter & Associates Inc. SILVER Bowman Consulting Bowman, Barrett & Associates Christopher B. Burke Engineering Civiltech Engineering Inc. Clark Dietz Inc. Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Inc. Duane Morris LLP GEI Consultants Inc. Geo Services Inc. Gerald Olson GSG Consultants Hanson Professional Services Inc. The Kenrich Group LLC Lochner RJN Group

Robinson Engineering TranSystems W.E. O’Neil Construction Co. Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc. BRONZE Advanced Concrete Ardmore Associates LLC Blinderman Construction Continental Painting & Decorating CTL Group David Mason Donohue & Associates Epstein F.H. Paschen HNTB Corporation Ingenii LLC John Frauenhoffer MWH now part of Stantec O’Brien & Associates Ricondo & Associates Inc. The Roderick Group Selvaggio Steel Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP S.T.A.T.E. Testing T.Y. Lin International Wight and Company

(Left to right) Robert Getty (BS 16), Michael Gabel (BS 11, MS 13) and Mike Mendoza (BS 07).

CEE at Illinois student Mouna Krami Senhaji and Keith Searles (BS 96).

Former CEEAA Board Member Tracy Lundin (BS 80, MS 82) (second from left) with current Board Members (left to right) John Kos (BS 77), Daniel Whalen (BS 84, MS 85) and Michael Vitale (BS 82, MS 84).

CEE at Illinois students Minkai Wang (left) and Shiyi Chen.

Richard Kaczkowski (BS 83, MS 84) and Joni Jones (BS 03, MS 05).

Abigail Benuska (BS 12) (left) and Christine Daul (BS 15).

Ama Addai (BS 04) and Rashod Johnson (BS 00, UIC MS 05).

Nancy Gavlin (BS 76) and Burton Lewis (MS 50).


(Left to right) Gerald R. Olson (BS 56), Distinguished Alumnus Award; Shiraz Tayabji (MS 72, PhD 76), Distinguished Alumnus Award; Matthew A. Johnson (BS 04, MS 08), Young Alumnus Achievement Award; Alan R. Poeppel (BS 91, MS 93), Distinguished Alumnus Award; Joshua Cantone (MS 07, PhD 10), Young Alumnus Achievement Award.




CORPORATE PARTNERS PROGRAM The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering gratefully acknowledges the following companies who contribute to CEE at Illinois as Corporate Partners. For information about the program, visit

CEE at Illinois gratefully thanks the lunch sponsors for its spring 2017 Job Fair Bowman, Barrett & Associates Civiltech Fehr Graham Hayward Baker Milhouse Construction


Excellence. Flexibility. Illinois. New online courses are always being added! Find out what’s new at

FROM THE CRANE BAY TO MUSEUM WALL To mark the 150th Anniversary of the university, graduate students in the art history department organized a special exhibit at the Krannert Art Museum, titled Land Grant. Displayed proudly on the wall was one of CEE at Illinois’ concrete canoes, which the museum borrowed from the department for the duration of the exhibit. The concrete canoe tradition began in 1970, when CEE at Illinois professor Clyde Kesler (BS 43, MS 46) assigned the project as a fun way to learn about design for his honors class. Word of the concrete canoe project made its way to Purdue University, where students built their own canoe and challenged Illinois to a race. In the years that followed, the competition became what it is today — an annual event involving thousands of students across the nation participating in regional contests that lead up to a national championship. Each year, students in the Boneyard Yacht Club — Illinois’ concrete canoe team — add to the legacy, bringing fresh ideas and innovative new methods to the project. Land Grant, installation view at Krannert Art Museum, 2017. Photo by Julia Nucci Kelly Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association—Summer 2017 43

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory MC-250 205 North Mathews Avenue Urbana, Illinois 61801

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CEE magazine Summer 2017  

Published every six months for alumni and friends of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at...

CEE magazine Summer 2017  

Published every six months for alumni and friends of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at...