Valocchi Named a Bliss Professor

Professor and Associate Head Albert J. Valocchi has been named a Bliss Professor of Engineering.

“Chairs and named professorships recognize faculty members who have demonstrated leadership in their technical areas and contribute significantly to the reputation of the College and the University,” said Ilesanmi Adesida, the dean of the College of Engineering.

A faculty member since 1981, Valocchi teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in water resources engineering, groundwater hydrology and contaminant transport, groundwater modeling and numerical methods, and stochastic analysis of porous media transport. As an expert in the numerical simulation of the flow of water and pollutants underground, his research focuses upon mathematical modeling of pollutant fate and transport in porous media, with applications to groundwater contamination and remediation. He specializes in the development and application of models that couple physical, geochemical, and microbiological processes over a wide range of spatial scales ranging from the pore scale (micrometers) to the field scale (kilometers).

The Bliss Professor of Engineering is the result of a bequest from the late Helen Eva Bliss in memory of her father, Abel Bliss Jr., who entered the University in 1872 to study civil engineering, but was forced to leave before completing his degree. In June 1874, the University granted him a partial certificate in civil engineering. His business ventures included agriculture and real estate, and by 1929, he was a partner in the land development and oil production company of Bliss & Wetherbee.   He died in the mid-1930s. His daughter, Helen, graduated from the University of Illinois in 1911 with a degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences. Early in her career, she taught engineering at a Shreveport, La., high school, and later did clerical work with the Bureau of Aircraft Production in Washington, D.C.  From 1936 until her retirement in 1962, she worked for the Washington law firm of Ivins, Phillips & Barker as an executive secretary.

A portion of the Bliss bequest went to support the Grainger Engineering Library and Information Center Endowment as well as other projects for “advancing the scholastic activities of the School of Engineering.”