Paul R. Munger, Investigator of the Hyatt Regency Skywalk Collapse, Dies at Age 82

BY 
April 24, 2014

Munger, Paul 2011Paul R. Munger, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, who as chair of the Missouri Board for Architects, Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors was involved in the investigation of the 1981 collapse of the Hyatt Regency skywalks in Kansas City, one of the deadliest structural failures in U.S. history, passed away on April 19 at the age of 82. His work to change registration procedures following the collapse earned Munger the Outstanding Service Award from the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers and the Distinguished Service Award from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. Chair of ASCE’s Committee on Professional Conduct, professor emeritus of civil engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology (formerly known as the University of Missouri–Rolla) and director of business development for Morris and Munger Engineers, a division of Benton & Associates Inc., Munger had an engineering career spanning more than 50 years and was considered an expert on the environmental and economic impact of water problems related to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Active within ASCE, he served as the District 16 director on the Board of Direction and Zone III vice president. Born January 14, 1932, in Hannibal, Missouri, Munger earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology in 1958 and 1961, respectively. Later, he earned a Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas in 1972. He joined the Missouri University of Science and Technology faculty in 1958 and served continuously for over 41 years at the University of Missouri at Rolla, beginning as an instructor and rising to professor and chairman of the Civil Engineering Department, and subsequently to professor emeritus. Throughout his illustrious career, Munger was involved with several organizations and served in leadership roles for many years, including as director of the Institute of River Studies at the University of Missouri-Rolla; chairman of the Missouri Board for Architects, Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors; chairman of the Engineering Division of the Missouri Board for Architects, Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors; national president of Chi Epsilon; president of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying; member of the National Society of Professional Engineers; charter member of the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers; president of the National Institute of Engineering Ethics; charter president of the Council of Engineering Specialty Boards; and president of the National Council of Engineering Ethics. It was in 1981 while he was chairman of the Missouri Board for Architects, Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors that he took part in the investigation of the circumstances of the Hyatt Regency walkway collapse. Among his many honors and awards, Munger was presented ASCE’s President’s Award and Edmund Friedman Professional Recognition Award, the Distinguished Service and Distinguished Member awards from the National Society of Professional Engineers, and the Presidential Award and a Hall of Fame induction from the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers.

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