Ouyang invested as George Krambles Endowed Professor in Rail and Public Transit

12/20/2017 10:35:05 AM

Above, left to right: College of Engineering Dean Andreas Cangellaris, Professor Yanfeng Ouyang, CEE at Illinois Department Head Benito Mariñas.

By Celeste Arbogast

Professor Yanfeng Ouyang was invested Dec. 7 as the first holder of the George Krambles Endowed Professorship in Rail and Public Transit. The professorship is named for a 1936 graduate of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who dedicated his career to the advancement of urban transportation engineering.

Yanfeng Ouyang and Carlos Daganzo
Yanfeng Ouyang and Carlos Daganzo
The investiture ceremony included remarks on Ouyang’s career history and current work by his Ph.D. adviser, Professor Carlos F. Daganzo, a Chancellor’s Professor of the Graduate School in civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of U.C. Berkeley’s Center of Excellence for Future Urban Transport; and CEE Professor Imad Al-Qadi, Founder Professor of Engineering and Director of Illinois’ Smart Transportation Infrastructure Initiative, the Illinois Center for Transportation and the Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering Laboratory. Also participating in the ceremony were Kevin Pitts, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education; College of Engineering Dean Andreas Cangellaris; and CEE Department Head Benito Mariñas.

Ouyang joined the faculty of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005 as an assistant professor, rising through the ranks to associate professor (2011) and full professor (2016). He currently teaches undergraduate courses in systems engineering, transportation engineering and public transportation systems; and a graduate course on logistics systems.

His research interests are in networks and supply chains; logistics systems; sustainable and resilient infrastructure systems; renewable energy systems; traffic flow theory and operations; sensor network systems; and safety and econometrics. He is a frequent invited lecturer and conference presenter on these topics within the U.S. and abroad. Since 2005, he has published nearly 200 articles in journals and conference proceedings, as well as several chapters in books.

Professor Ouyang’s awards include a Walter L. Huber Research Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers (2015); a High Impact Project Award from the Illinois Department of Transportation (2014), a Distinguished Promotion Award from Illinois (2016), an Engineering Council Outstanding Adviser Award from Illinois (2014), a Xerox Award for Faculty Research from Illinois (2010) and a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the U.S. National Science Foundation (2008). Since joining Illinois, he has frequently appeared on the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by their Students.

Ouyang holds Faculty Affiliate positions in Illinois’ Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering; Illinois’ Computational Science and Engineering Option Program; the Earth and Environment Theme of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications; and Illinois’ Institute for Sustainability, Energy and the Environment. He is an Affiliated Professor and Adjunct Doctoral Supervisor at the School of Transportation Science and Engineering at Harbin Institute of Technology in China and International Director of the Department of Production and Operations Management and Logistics Management of the School of Management at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China.

He holds a B.Eng. in Civil Engineering (summa cum laude) from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China (2000); an M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington (2001); and an M.S. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley (2005).

George Krambles
George Krambles
George Krambles (1915-1999) was a 1936 graduate of the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who dedicated his career to the advancement of urban transportation engineering. During 43 years of outstanding service to the Chicago Rapid Transit Company and its successor, the Chicago Transit Authority, Krambles rose from student engineer to Executive Director.

The record of Krambles’ pioneering accomplishments includes the design of the power distribution and dispatching for the State Street Subway; development of the Skokie Swift, the success of which led to the federal government’s funding of other transit projects around the country; modernization of rapid transit service to increase efficiency, speed and economic performance; and the construction and operation of rapid transit trains down the median strip of newly constructed urban expressways. He helped plan and oversaw the first such installation in Chicago, the Congress-Eisenhower line, which was soon followed by the lines on the Dan Ryan and Kennedy expressways.

Krambles vigorously promoted the use and benefits of electric railroading and in 1938 founded the Central Electric Railfans Association. He accumulated what is believed to be the largest private collection of transportation photographs. He lectured around the world and applied his considerable artistic talents to the illustration of technical papers, books and articles on rail transport.

In dedication to the future of the transportation industry, Krambles established the George Krambles Transportation Scholarship Fund to provide awards to promising young students enrolled in transportation-related degree programs. This organization established an endowed fund at the University of Illinois in 2003 to provide for a professorship in rail and public transit, an annual scholarship in that area and continued support of the railroad engineering program. 

What is an investiture?

An investiture is a formal ceremony held to recognize the conferring of an academic title, such as a chair or professorship. Endowed chairs and professorships are created when a donor makes a gift to establish an endowment fund. The name recognizes the donor or another honoree designated by the donor. For a faculty member, receiving a named chair or professorship is a significant career honor. In addition, a certain amount of the investment proceeds from the fund are paid annually to the recipient to be used as discretionary income to support his or her research and teaching. As a result, the ability to award professorships and chairs helps the department, because they are powerful tools for recruiting and retaining top faculty. To explore the possibility of funding a chair or professorship in CEE, please contact:

John Kelley, Director of Advancement, (217) 333-5120, jekelley@illinois.edu
Nishant Makhijani, Assistant Director of Advancement, (217) 265-0407, nishantm@illinois.edu
Ekaterina Trubitsyna, Strategic Data Manager, (217) 300-0194, katia@illinois.edu