Fred Kulhawy, Ph.D., P.E., G.E., Dist.M.ASCE, passed away May 12 at 71. Dr. Kulhawy was an eminent civil engineering educator, researcher, and practitioner recognized for his significant contributions to foundation engineering, the development of reliability-based geotechnical design, the mechanics of soil-structure interaction, and the evaluation of soil/rock behavior. He was named a distinguished member by the ASCE Board of Direction in 2005 and was a recipient of the Norman Medal, the ASCE’s oldest and most prestigious technical award, and the Karl Terzaghi Award, the ASCE Geo-Institute’s career accolade for eminence in geotechnical engineering.
Kulhawy was known worldwide for research that advanced the state-of-the-art and state-of-practice of foundation engineering, reliability-based design, and geotechnical property evaluation. This work has been disseminated widely through publications, computer software, pertinent ASCE, ACI, and IEEE Standards, and more than 1,000 presentations, seminars, and workshops. As a private geotechnical consultant to government, industry, and engineering firms, Kulhawy completed more than 400 assignments in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australasia.
Kulhawy’s academic career spanned 4 decades, and at his death he was professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering at Cornell University. Kulhawy worked with the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Engineering where he served as chairman of both the U.S. National Committee for Tunneling Technology and its Subcommittee on Education and Training. Kulhaway also was part of the National Research Council’s U.S. National Committee for Rock Mechanics and its Panel on Domestic and International Activities.
Kulhawy was a prolific researcher, with sponsors ranging from various government agencies to public and private companies. He supervised 54 master’s and doctoral theses. He authored or co-authored more than 370 publications, and his contributions have been recognized with more than 20 major professional society awards.
Born in Topeka, Kansas, Kulhawy spent his childhood and early adulthood in New Jersey. He received his bachelor and master of science degrees in civil engineering from Newark College of Engineering, now part of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley.