O’Rourke Elected to the Grade of Distinguished Member

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April 1, 2014

O'Rourke, ThomasThomas D. O’Rourke, Ph.D., Hon.D.GE., Dist.M.ASCE, NAE, is honored by ASCE for his leadership and enduring contributions in the following areas: the safety and security of critical infrastructure through earthquake protection of water supply, gas, liquid fuel, and transportation systems; improved design and construction of deep excavations, pipelines, and pipeline networks; and extraordinary contributions educating the next generation of civil engineers. O’Rourke, the Thomas R. Briggs Professor of Engineering at Cornell University, is recognized worldwide for his work with seismic protection of water, gas, liquid fuel, and transportation facilities; design/construction of deep excavations; pipeline engineering; earthquake and construction  ground-movement effects on buildings/utilities; and infrastructure resilience. He is a leader in design, construction, and protection of critical infrastructure – abetted by his 35 years as a prominent academic with more than 350 publications on geotechnical, underground, and earthquake engineering – and has been principal investigator/co-principal investigator on more than 75 research projects. He has also been a key consultant on 120 projects dealing with water supply, underground transportation, and gas/liquid fuel facilities in the U.S. and 12 other countries around the world. As president of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, O’Rourke was instrumental in securing authorization of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program. Elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1993 for inspirational teaching and leadership in geotechnical and earthquake engineering for lifeline utilities, he holds a U.S. patent for the Frictionless Pipe and has a patent pending for the Environmental Sensor System. Throughout his distinguished career, O’Rourke has received many awards, including ASCE’s Ralph B. Peck Award and Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize; this in addition to the British Institution of Civil Engineers’ Trevithick Prize and the Japan Gas Association’s Best Paper award.

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