Milhouse, Wood receive Grainger College Distinguished Alumni Awards

8/6/2020 2:01:01 PM

The Grainger College of Engineering Alumni Award for Distinguished Service is conferred upon exceptional alumni each year. Recipients are recognized for professional distinction through outstanding leadership, contributions to the field of engineering, creativity, and entrepreneurship; as well as service to society, the professional community, and to the department, college, or university. See all of the recipients at

Wilbur C. Milhouse III

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Milhouse Engineering & Construction

BS, Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1994
MS, Structural Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1995

For entrepreneurship that advances opportunities for minorities in the engineering field, exceptional commitment to mentoring children and lifting up disadvantaged communities in the United States and abroad, and for dedicated support and service to the University of Illinois.

Wilbur C. Milhouse III is the Chairman and CEO of Milhouse Engineering & Construction, Inc (Milhouse). He is an award-winning entrepreneur who has transformed over 25 years of diversified civil and structural engineering experience into a global enterprise that has drawn national attention. Milhouse has been ranked as the 5th largest design firm in Chicago by Engineering News Record, widely regarded as one of the construction industry’s most authoritative publications. Founded in 2001, Milhouse is a dedicated, multidisciplinary team of over 250 talented professionals, headquartered in Chicago with branch offices throughout the United States, Africa, and Bermuda. On the international stage, Wilbur has founded both Power and Energy companies in Nigeria, where he is developing a 60 MW thermal power plant. The plant is expandable to 300 MW – enough power to supply the needs of millions of citizens in the Southeastern quadrant of Nigeria.

Prior to founding Milhouse, Wilbur had several engineering roles focused in project management at Teng & Associates, Jackson, Tull & Graham, Infrastructure Engineering Inc., and Patrick Engineering. Wilbur is fiercely supportive of his community and the engineering profession through extensive involvement in civic, charitable and professional organizations. In 2012, Mr. Milhouse broadened his support for the community by co-founding Milhouse Charities – a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing academic achievements and opportunities for minorities and other underrepresented youth by supporting STEM-focused organizations. Wilbur has served on The Grainger College of Engineering’s Board of Visitors and the board of University of Illinois Research Park, LLC, and also served as convocation speaker for The Grainger College of Engineering in 2017.

Wilbur has received the 30th Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame Award (2015), the Project SYNCERE Engineering Excellence Award (2019), and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBELEGENDS) Dynamic Engineers Innovating Change Award (2019). Additionally, he holds nine professional engineering licenses in the United States.

Sharon L. Wood

Dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin
Cockrell Family Chair in Engineering #14

BS, Civil Engineering, University of Virginia, 1982
MS, Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1983
PhD, Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1986

For pioneering leadership in engineering education at the University of Texas at Austin; for championing the role of women and advancing diversity efforts in engineering; and for an ongoing career of academic leadership in structural engineering research, teaching, and service.

Sharon L. Wood is the dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering and holds the Cockrell Family Chair in Engineering #14 at The University of Texas at Austin, where she has been a member of the faculty for more than 20 years. Wood is a structural engineer whose research interests focus on improving the structural response of reinforced concrete buildings, design and evaluation of bridges, and development of passive sensors for infrastructure systems.

Sharon began her career as a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1986, and she joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin in 1996. Prior to her appointment as dean, Sharon served as chair of the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering for five years, and as director of the Ferguson Structural Engineering Laboratory, one of the nation’s leading research centers in the large-scale study of the behavior of bridges, buildings, and structural components, for one year.

Sharon was elected into the National Academy of Engineering (2013) and received the OPAL Award for Education from the American Society of Civil Engineers (2018).  She is a past president of the American Concrete Institute and has also served on federal advisory committees for the Department of Veteran Affairs, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, and the U.S. Geological Survey.