Distinguished Faculty Award

Distinguished Faculty Award

The CEE Alumni Association Distinguished Faculty Award is an award designed to recognize our most accomplished faculty who have made outstanding contributions to the department, to the education of our students, and to the pursuit of knowledge and the betterment of society through research. 


Professor Barry J. Dempsey

For being the Founder of Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering Laboratory (ATREL) in Rantoul; establishing the Barry J. and Pauline G. Dempsey ATREL Endowment Fund to generate income for unrestricted support of research and operations at the Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering Laboratory; for being the Founding Director, Center of Excellence for Airport Technology; and for his exemplary dedication to teaching, research and professional practice in the field of Transportation Engineering.

Professor Emeritus Barry J. Dempsey (PhD 1969) served on the CEE transportation faculty from 1969-1999. During his time at Illinois, he was the founding Director of the Advanced Transportation Research Engineering Laboratory and the Center of Excellence for Airport Technology at the University of Illinois, both of which helped CEE at Illinois advance transportation research. Dempsey developed useful products to solve pavement problems such as the interlayer stress absorbing composite material that carries U.S. and foreign patents and has been used in numerous airport and highway pavement projects. Dempsey also pioneered the development of the Integrated Climate Model that has been used extensively in research and design procedures.

Professor Jamshid Ghaboussi

For being a pioneer in the development of discrete element modeling; the first to use polyhedral, or angular, particles (everyone else was using spherical) and developing some of the earliest methods to model individual particle movements. For being one of the first to propose the use of artificial neural networks to represent material models; for seeing the power of artificial neural networks and genetic algorithms and continued using these methods for material modeling, soils, structural applications, geotechnical applications and biomedical engineering. Dr. Ghaboussi has been described as a “Thinker, pioneer and visionary.”

Jamshid Ghaboussi joined the faculty of the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 1973, where he is currently Professor Emeritus. While on the faculty, Ghaboussi taught undergraduate and graduate courses in structural analysis, FEM, structural dynamics, and soil dynamics. His research interests include computational mechanics, earthquake engineering, analysis of long span bridges, and emerging new technologies in computational intelligence. He holds several patents which have resulted from his research, including two that came from from collaboration with other CEE faculty related to the determination of the properties of materials by testing the structural systems of which they are a part.

Professor Ben Chie Yen (awarded posthumously)

For pioneering the investigation of hydrologic problems from the perspective of fluid mechanics and the development of computer models in the holistic modeling of watersheds; for being one of the first researchers to work on urban storm water drainage and for being the founding member of the Chinese American Water Resources Association. Professor Ben Chie Yen educated and inspired students who became civil and environmental engineering leaders around the world.

Ben Chie Yen served on the CEE at Illinois faculty for 35 years (1966-2001). He was an internationally recognized leader in hydraulics and hydrology. His major contributions were in open-channel hydraulics, urban drainage, watershed hydrology, and reliability and uncertainty analyses in hydro-engineering. He worked with Ven Te Chow, pioneering the investigation of hydrologic problems from the perspective of fluid mechanics and the development of computer models in the holistic modeling of watersheds. Yen was one of the first researchers to work on urban storm water drainage. Yen died in 2001.



Professor Ven Te Chow

Professor Ven Te Chow (awarded posthumously)

For being a renowned educator, researcher and water resources engineer whose accomplishments significantly influenced the understanding and importance of water resources throughout the entire world; for being an admired and highly respected colleague at UIUC, revered by his legion of students both here at the university and worldwide; often described as a giant in his field, as both a developer and a disseminator of knowledge; being a worldwide educator and public servant in hydrology and water resources. He was a true ambassador and leader for the then-emerging field of Hydrologic Science.

Chow earned his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering (Hydraulics) from Illinois in 1950 and joined the CEE faculty a year later. Chow was a founder and first president of the International Water Resources Association, president of the American Geophysical Union's Section on Hydrology, and fellow and founding member of the American Academy of Mechanics. His many honors include election to membership in the National Academy of Engineering (1973), Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Academician of the Academia Sinica and of the China Academy, and the Louis Pasteur Medal (1976).

Professor Jon C. Liebman

Professor Jon C. Liebman

For his development of river basin water quality modeling and expanded interests to the application of network optimization to design of water distribution and wastewater collection systems, location of solid waste collection facilities, and routing of solid waste collection vehicles; for his development of one of the first undergraduate general computer programming courses in the United States; for his leadership as Head of the department from 1978 to 1984.

Liebman served on the CEE at Illinois faculty from 1972 until his retirement in 1996. During his tenure he was Associate Head of the Department from 1976-1978, and Head from 1978-1984. Among his many honors are being named the first recipient of the UIUC College of Engineering Rose Award for Teaching Excellence (1997); Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award, College of Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder (1998); Tsuan Hua Feng Distinguished Lecturer, University of Massachusetts (1998); and induction into the Society of Scholars, The Johns Hopkins University (1999).

Professor Vernon L. Snoeyink

Professor Vernon L. Snoeyink 

For his research on drinking water quality control centered on the removal of organic and inorganic contaminants from water using adsorption systems, especially granular and powdered activated carbon systems that are coupled with membrane systems; for investigating the mechanisms of formation and means to control water quality problems that develop in drinking water distribution systems as a result of reactions of iron, aluminum and other inorganic substances; and for being recognized at the University of Illinois for excellence in teaching at the Department, College of Engineering and Campus levels.

During more than 35 years on the CEE at Illinois faculty (1969-2005), Snoeyink educated and inspired generations of students in the area of water quality engineering. Snoeyink has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in water chemistry and water quality control, as well as a course in cultural awareness and speech enhancement to advanced doctoral students. He is a co-author of the book Water Chemistry (John Wiley, 1980). His many honors include membership in the National Academy of Engineering, and several awards for excellence in teaching at the University of Illinois.  



Professor Alfredo Ang

Professor Alfredo H-S. Ang

For his combined academic research and teaching directed toward structural safety by applying probability and reliability concepts in structural engineering; for extending his theoretical work to practical problems, including seismic hazard analysis, earthquake engineering, wind engineering, offshore structures, and life-cycle cost effectiveness in design criteria development; and for being an author or co-author of more than 300 publications including a two-volume textbook, Probability Concepts in Engineering Planning and Design, which has been translated into several languages and adopted by major universities worldwide.

Professor emeritus Alfredo H.-S. Ang (MS 57, PhD 59) served on the CEE faculty from 1959 until 1988. Now a professor emeritus at the University of California, Irvine. His main area of research is on the application of probability and reliability in civil and structural engineering, with emphasis on the safety of engineering systems, including seismic risk and earthquake engineering, quantitative risk assessment, life-cycle cost and performance, and sustainability of green buildings and infrastructure.

German Gurfinkel

Professor German Gurfinkel

For his exemplary dedication to teaching, research and professional practice in the field of Structural Engineering for which he has won many awards; for actively teaching well beyond his retirement; for providing engineering consultation to ascertain causes for structural collapses of numerous buildings, bridges and storage structures both nationally and internationally; and creating designs for strengthening impaired structures.

Professor emeritus German Gurfinkel joined the CEE faculty in 1962. He has continued to teach classes at CEE at Illinois since his retirement in 1998. Gurfinkel has received numerous awards for teaching, research and professional practice in the field of structural engineering. He has acted as consultant on projects to ascertain causes for structural collapses of numerous buildings, bridges and storage structures both nationally and internationally.

Mete Sözen

Professor Mete Sozen (awarded posthumously)

For being a co-developer of the first earthquake shaking simulator in the United States which was housed at the University of Illinois; for his academic interest in the development of design codes for concrete structures; for his notable contributions to the official post 9/11-government studies of terrorist attacks, including Oklahoma City Bombing and The Pentagon; and for creating an engineering simulation of American Airlines Flight 11 crashing into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Mete Sozen (MS 52, PhD 57) served on the CEE faculty for 36 years. His research focused on the earthquake-resistant design of reinforced concrete structures and the development of professional design codes for reinforced and prestressed concrete structures. Sozen left Illinois in 1993 to teach at Purdue University as the Kettelhut Distinguished Professor of Structural Engineering, until 2016, when he retired. Throughout his career, he was known as a compelling lecturer and wise research mentor. He died in 2018 at age 87.



Professor Leonard A. Lopez

Professor Leonard A. Lopez

For his role in the development and advancement of a significant University program and research in the area of Civil Engineering Systems (computer-aided design and software for engineering applications); for development of the POLO system and subsequently the FINITE system which was the result of early unsponsored research and then became a system used worldwide and revolutionized computer-aided structural analysis and design; for developing a prototype knowledge-based system for processing specifications; and for pioneering courses that integrated computer applications in engineering design that included structured programming, network processing, language design, disc file management and engineering applications. His courses at University of Illinois became the model for similar courses taught at many other universities in the United States.

Lopez (PhD 66) spent almost his entire career in CEE at Illinois, where he taught, conducted research, published, consulted and lectured on computer-related topics for over 30 years. Lopez was an early leader in the use of computers for structural engineering applications and advanced the department’s capacity in the area of computer use in engineering education. Software systems that resulted from his research include SCAN, POLO, FINITE and SICAD.

Professor Steven J. Fenves

Professor Steven J. Fenves

For technical contributions in pioneering the development of civil engineering applications of computers and in problem-oriented programming languages; for his role in the development and advancement of a significant University program and research in the area of Civil Engineering Systems; for being the co-developer STRESS, of one of the earliest computer-aided structural analysis systems; for research that dealt with design standards, databases, knowledge-based systems, machine learning, and comprehensive design environments.

Steven J. Fenves (BS 57, MS 58, PhD 61) was an early pioneer in the use of computers for structural engineering applications. While on the CEE faculty, Fenves taught courses in the design of engineering information systems and computer methods in civil engineering. Fenves is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Professor Moreland Herrin

Professor Moreland Herrin

For technical contributions to transportation and pavement engineering; his nationally-recognized research in asphalt and asphalt-aggregate materials, asphalt-soil stabilization and related environmental measures for highways and airfields; for initiating the Illinois Bituminous Paving conference; for his role as Director of the Illinois Cooperative Transportation Program between the Illinois Department of Transportation and University of Illinois; as Chairman of the Bituminous Division of the Transportation Research Board; and his nearly 30 years of teaching and mentoring CEE students.

A member of the CEE at Illinois faculty for more than 30 years, Professor Moreland Herrin was a leader in the transportation engineering group and an early contributor to the science of pavement engineering. He founded the Illinois Bituminous Paving Conference, served as president of the International Association of Asphalt Pavement Technologists in 1978 and was recognized as the Illinois Asphalt Paving Association’s Man of the Year in 1985.



Professor Edward J. Cording

Professor Edward J. Cording

For outstanding professional contributions and an academic career in the geotechnical area of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; for his work as a professor who believed that there was a strong synergy among teaching theory, university research and professional practice, leading to an essential background and perspective for the students; for improvements in theories for rock stability, as well as efficient means of calculating, measuring and monitoring earth and rock movement, during and after excavation with attention to safety in unfavorable environments.

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Professor Alfred J. "Skip" Hendron Jr.

Professor Alfred J. "Skip" Hendron Jr.

For outstanding professional leadership and teaching innovation in the geotechnical area of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; for visionary leadership and management in technical committees of the American Society of Civil Engineers, including soil dynamics and rock mechanics committees; for excellence in the teaching of geotechnical engineering during a lifelong academic career.

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Professor Emeritus Ernest J. Barenberg 

Professor Emeritus Ernest J. Barenberg

For technical contributions to the theoretical understanding of pavement behavior and responses; leadership in the mechanistic-empirical design of concrete pavements; for innovations in post-tensioned and precast concrete pavement; for a passion to mentor graduate students and challenge students to strive toward a high standard of professional excellence; and for 30 years of teaching CEE students the importance of the engineering decision-making process.

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Professor Emeritus Marshall R. Thompson

Professor Emeritus Marshall R. Thompson

For technical contributions to transportation and pavement engineering through characterization of asphalt, granular and soil materials responses, behavior, and performance; for the development of new flexible pavement design methods for roads and airfields, and to soil improvement techniques and procedures for horizontal construction and vehicle mobility; for innovations, such as first backcalculation procedure, high-strength stabilized base design, and asphalt overlay of rubblized concrete design; and for more than 35 years of teaching and mentoring CEE students.

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Professor Emeritus William J. Hall

Professor Emeritus William J. Hall

For excellence in instruction and research during nearly four decades on the faculty of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; for leadership in the field as Head of CEE at Illinois and as a respected structural engineering researcher, practitioner and consultant in earthquake engineering and the design of military structures; and for lifelong service and generosity to the University as a loyal CEE alumnus.

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Alumni & Corporate Relations Contact

Keely Ashman

Keely Ashman
Assistant Director of Alumni & Corporate Relations 
1107 Newmark Civil Engineering Lab
205 N. Mathews Ave., Urbana, IL  61801
(217) 333-6454

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