Edward J Cording

Edward J Cording
Edward J Cording
  • Professor Emeritus
2230 Newmark Civil Engineering Bldg


 Edward J. Cording was born on December 20, 1937. He received his B.S. degree in geology from Wheaton College, Illinois, in 1960 and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1963 and 1967 respectively. From 1960 to 1967, in addition to periods of formal education, Cording advanced his professional capabilities by working as a Foundation Engineer for Shannon and Wilson, Seattle, and a Mining Engineer for Fenix and Sisson Inc. From 1965 to 1967 he was in military service at the U. S. Army Waterways Engineering Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Miss., and later as captain in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Command in Vietnam. Cording retired from the University of Illinois with emeritus status in 2002.

In his work as a professor, Cording believed there was a strong synergy among teaching theory, university research and professional practice, leading to an essential background and perspective for his students. As reflected in his published work and consulting practice on actual projects, he significantly increased the ability of his students to design and execute underground works safely with minimum disturbance to overlying and adjacent properties. Cording is recognized for improvements in theories for rock stability, as well as efficient means of calculating, measuring and monitoring earth and rock movements during and after excavation, with attention to safety in unfavorable environments.

As a result, Cording was called in to provide advice on some of the largest projects of the world. A few examples include the Nevada Test Site (1965), illustrating the ability to construct large test chambers and render them stable; the Drakensburg Pumped Storage South Africa; the Gregory County Pumped Storage in Missouri; the Superconducting Super Collider project (1986-90) in Texas; and the Washington, D.C., Metro (1970-82). His advice was often sought on the construction of braced excavations, shallow chambers in rock tunnels, soil and rock measurements of ground motions, and general stability of tunnels. Included were the Stillwater Tunnel, Utah (1982-84), and tunnels in the Chicago Clays (1992). Other topics on which Cording consulted included compaction grouting during construction and grouting practice between tunnels.

Cording was a member and committee chairman of numerous major technical organizations, including the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Geological Society of America and the American Rock Mechanics Association, for which he was a founding member. He served on many high-level boards, for example the U. S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (1992-97), a presidentially appointed board responsible for technical review of the Department of Energy's investigation of the suitability of the Yucca Mountain Site for storage of high-level nuclear waste.

He received many honors, including membership in the National Academy of Engineering (1987) and election to the MOLES organization (2003), which honors individuals involved in heavy construction –  an honor rarely granted to University Professors. Among his other awards were the Bronze Medal, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, for Vietnam service (1967); the ASCE Martin S. Kapp Award (1983); and the ASCE Thomas A. Middlebrooks Award (1985).

He is the author or coauthor of more than 90 major articles, reports of public record and contributions to books.