Professor Emeritus Clyde E. Kesler (BS 43, MS 46) died Dec. 30, 2011. Best known within the department as the Father of the Concrete Canoe, Kesler started the phenomenon of concrete canoe racing in the 1970s with a class project. He served on the faculty of the departments of both Civil Engineering and Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from the late 1940s until his retirement in 1982. He served as Associate Head of Civil Engineering from 1978-81.
In his early career, Kesler specialized in the properties of plain and reinforced concrete. Later he investigated fiber reinforced concrete to increase its workability and toughness, and maintain quality while reducing cost.
In 1977, Kesler was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering, the highest honor that can be accorded to an engineer. In 1967 he was elected president of the American Concrete Institute, the youngest individual to hold that post up to that time. He served on dozens of committees of that organization. He was the author or co-author of 85 major publications, including technical papers and books of high technical merit. He was a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
By virtue of his expertise in concrete, Kesler was widely sought out during his career as a consultant for industry and government. He lectured and served on committees throughout the world. He held a patent in Fiber-Reinforced Cement Composite.
Kesler lived in the Urbana-Champaign area until his death and remained a supporter of the Boneyard Yacht Club, the department's Concrete Canoe team.