June 2017

Welcome to eConnections

Rao Govindaraju

This has been another great academic year at the Lyles School of Civil Engineering — in both accomplishments by our students, faculty, and staff — and contributions from our incredibly supportive alumni.

Back in our January edition of eConnections, we announced the completion of the Thomas A. Page Pavilion. Named after its primary donor, Tom Page (BSCE ‘55, MSIA ‘63, HDR ‘94), the facility serves as a place for student teams to plan, design, fabricate, and finish projects. The School has received another significant commitment from Christopher B. (BSCE ‘77, MSCE ‘79, Ph.D. ‘83, HDR '10) and Susan S. (BSLA '78) Burke. In recognition of the Burke family’s philanthropy and commitment to Purdue University, our School has named its graduate program as the Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke Graduate Program.

The Burke family’s gift allows our School to set yet another benchmark among the best programs in the world. Purdue civil engineering's graduate program is now the first named civil engineering graduate program in the United States. We are ever thankful to the Burkes—and all of our wonderful alumni, friends, and corporate partners who continue to support us.

Also this past semester, the Lyles School raised more than $3 million – and placed fourth overall for Purdue’s annual Day of Giving! I would specifically like to recognize our good friends Jerry (BSCE ‘65, MISA ‘66) and Lynda Engelhardt. They continue to be very strong backers of our Civil Engineering program, and during Day of Giving pledged over $1.5 million dollars to our School.

The generosity of our alumni and friends is a key component to our School’s 130 years of success — and it is also why we are continually recognized as one of the top programs in the world! Once again, both our graduate and undergraduate programs were placed among the top 10 in the United States by U.S. News & World Report!

I look forward to sharing even more of our accomplishments with you in this edition of eConnections, and in our IMPACT and Transitions magazines — both of which will come out later this fall.

Also, be sure to send us your feedback, contact information, and life and career news. Send your updates to Kathy Heath at heathk@purdue.edu.

All the best,

Rao S. Govindaraju
Bowen Engineering Head of Civil Engineering
and Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke Professor of Civil Engineering

Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke

Burke Graduate Program

In recognition of the Burke Family generosity and commitment to Purdue, the School named its graduate program the Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke Graduate Program.

Chris Burke (BSCE ‘77, MSCE ‘79, Ph.D. ‘83, HDR '10) said the unique educational opportunities and experiences he and his family received are among the reasons for the gift to Civil Engineering.

“We think that the direction the university is headed is fantastic and we really want to do our part and to keep that great tradition of excellence,” Burke said. “We believe this will help carry that tradition on.”

The Burkes’ gift will allow the Lyles School of Civil Engineering to set yet another benchmark among the best programs in the world. It is the first named graduate program in a civil engineering program in the U.S.

The Burkes are major benefactors and supporters of the Lyles School of Civil Engineering, including the Christopher and Susan Burke Hydraulics and Hydrology Research and Teaching Laboratory, the Christopher and Susan Burke Undergraduate Hydraulics Teaching Laboratory, the Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke Professor in Civil Engineering, and seed funding for the Center for UAV Applications for Physical and Environmental Infrastructure.

Professors hold a town hall meeting with students, staff, and faculty about the proposed Resilient Extraterrestrial Habitat Engineering Program.

CE Professors to Create Resilient Extraterrestrial Habitat Engineering Program

A team consisting of Antonio Bobet, Professor of Civil Engineering; Shirley Dyke, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering; Julio Ramirez, Professor of Civil Engineering, and Center Director of the Network Coordination Office for the National Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure, and Jay Melosh, Distinguished Professor, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, received a grant to create the Resilient Extraterrestrial Habitat Engineering program.

New Horizons is a competitive program launched by the Provost's Office in 2016 to challenge established senior faculty at Purdue to create new academic areas for the coming decades. This differs from the traditional approach of hiring new faculty gradually to develop new areas at a university, Provost Deba Dutta said.

“We have fantastic, entrepreneurial faculty who are cutting-edge researchers. They understand Purdue at a deep level and have the knowledge, skills, and experience to create new fields of inquiry that will have impact worldwide,” Dutta said.

Read the full story.

Upcoming Events

  • July 21 – Alumni and Friends Dinner in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Sep. 22 – Advisory Council Meeting
  • Sep. 22 – Scholarship and Awards Banquet
  • Sep. 23 – Homecoming Breakfast
  • Oct. 11 – OTEC Breakfast
  • Oct. 12 – CESAC Career Fair

Get Connected!

The Lyles School of Civil Engineering has several ways for you to stay up-to-date with our activities and accomplishments. One of the best ways is to subscribe to our social media channels.

We have active Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Join us, interact, and share!

A celebration for our graduates was held in front of Hampton Hall.


Thank you to everyone who joined us in May to celebrate the commencement of our undergraduate and graduate students! More than 130 of our students became proud alumni. We at the Lyles School of Civil Engineering wish them all the very best in their future endeavors.


Two of the Lyles School of Civil Engineering’s associate professors have announced their retirement.

Associate Professors Philippe Bourdeau and Steven Johnson have announced their retirements, effective this summer break. Together, Bourdeau and Johnson have dedicated more than 40 years of their professional careers at Purdue University as both teachers and researchers.

Professor Bourdeau – who came to Purdue in 1988 – said he plans to remain in the Greater Lafayette area to continue his research, write, and consult. He is also deeply appreciative of his time teaching at Purdue and sees it as some of his most important work.

“Teaching has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me at Purdue,” Bourdeau said. “The feeling you get, knowing the students you’ve taught are then going out and using that knowledge to make a difference is something I will never forget. I believe that, even in a top-ranked research university like Purdue, our main impact on society is through teaching.”

Professor Johnson came to Purdue in 1992 after teaching at Virginia Tech for 16 years. After this summer, he said he plans to go into “full retirement.”

Professor Johnson added that he will always fondly remember seeing his students pursue their passion and succeed.

“I think back on all the graduates of our program with a degree or minor in surveying,” Johnson said. “I am very proud of our graduates and the impact they have had on surveying and mapping here in Indiana and throughout the nation.”

Johnson said he also enjoyed his many years of professional contributions serving accreditation activities with ABET and developing surveying professional registration with the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).

The Art of Teaching | Engineering Art

Teaching is an art and so is engineering! Mastering both arts requires interest, talent, role models, and a lifetime of dedication.

A series of seminars was held at Purdue's Lyles School of Civil Engineering this year on the art of teaching engineering. The speakers were renowned teachers and mentors whose effectiveness has been proven by the success of their students.

We recorded the lectures and posted them on our YouTube channel. We encourage you to have a watch!

Our honorees, bottom row from left: Bryn Fosburgh, Constance Solina, Al Dausman, Erin Flanigan, and William Lyles IV.

2017 Civil Engineering Alumni Achievement Awards (CEAAA)

The Lyles School of Civil Engineering recognized five passionate, successful, and visionary graduates during the 24th annual Civil Engineering Alumni Achievement Awards this spring.

We also recorded the Q&A session with our students and CEAAA honorees. Watch the video.

Thank you to all of our participants and sponsors!

57th Annual CE Open

Since 1960, this event has been a staple of Purdue CE tradition. Around 70 participants joined us on June 9, and a great time was had by all. Thank you to all of our sponsors: American Structurepoint; Benchmark Fabricated Steel; Butler, Fairman, and Seufert, Inc.; Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd.; David Wozniak; FA Wilhelm Construction; Marathon Petroleum; RQAW Corporation; and V3 Companies.

Thank You for a Wonderful Purdue Day of Giving

The Lyles School of Civil Engineering raised more than $3 million from 198 individual gifts for Purdue’s annual Day of Giving. We are deeply thankful to all those who donated – and to our students, faculty, and staff who participated in the day’s activities. Your contributions have greatly impacted Civil Engineering because these funds go to our School’s greatest needs, such as scholarship opportunities, faculty support, outreach programs and facility improvements.

Day of Giving thank-you banner posted outside the main office

Students were taken on a tour of the London Crossrail construction, hosted by Bechtel Corp.

European Infrastructure Trip

Civil Engineering Professor Darcy Bullock led the 21st Century European Transportation Infrastructure class. Twenty Purdue engineering students, faculty, and staff made several stops in England, Germany, and Austria.

Among the places the group visited was the London Crossrail construction sites, hosted by Bechtel Corp. Purdue alumnus Al Dausman (MSCE ‘78) and Bechtel Corp. Project Engineer led the tour. The group also visited the tunnel construction sites in Austria, hosted by Professor Fellendorf from Graz University of Technology.

View a photo album of the trip.

Why I Love Being a Civil Engineer

Why do YOU love being a civil engineer? Send us a fun, job-related picture and brief description that shows why you love working as a civil engineer. Our favorite entries will be featured in the next edition of eConnections. Send your photos and a brief description to Civil Engineering Marketing and Communications Director Drew Stone at stone91@purdue.edu.

  • This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. As a college graduate, former Purdue Professor Charles Alton Ellis was the design engineer for the bridge. Read the full story.

  • Stacy Bartoletti (BSCE '91), Chairman & CEO of Degenkolb Engineers, and Doreen Mitchell (BSCE '81), Vice President of Facility Asset Management at the Walt Disney World Company, have been named recipients of the 2017 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award by the College of Engineering.
  • Dr. Patricia D. Galloway, PE, FCIArb, FCCA (BSCE '78) has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Granite Construction. With her addition to the board, she is a member of the Audit/Compliance and Executive Committees.
  • Anne Bigane Wilson (BSCEM '79, MSCE '81) was awarded the 2017 Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Award in Construction by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
  • Dr. Kieran Feighan (MSCE ‘85, PhD ‘88) was named the new president of Engineers Ireland this spring.
  • Karen Casteloes (MSCE '16) received 1st place Outstanding Masters Thesis Award from the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP). Her thesis was entitled Techniques and Technologies for Decontaminating Chemically Contaminated Premise Plumbing Infrastructure.

Thanks for keeping us up to date with your contact information, life events, and career news. Send your updates to: Kathy Heath at heathk@purdue.edu.

  • CE undergrads Nathan Shellhamer, Wyatt Huber, Rachel Stewart, and Marcelino Cruz were recognized by the ASCE Indiana section as outstanding senior members of the Purdue ASCE chapter. The students were nominated by their faculty advisor based on their contributions to the chapter over the past year.
  • The Purdue University Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) student chapter team, consisting of Thomas Hall, Michelle Mekker, Lucy Richardson, and Maggie McNamara, won the 2017 District ITE Collegiate Traffic Bowl this past April and will defend their Grand Championship title this summer in Toronto. Purdue is hosting the 2017 ITE Student Leadership Summit in September. Read the full article
  • CE graduate student Seyed (Ali) Ghahari will attend the Making Academic Change Happen Workshop 2017 on the campus of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technlogy, supported by the National Science Foundation as an Emerging Educator through NSF's Engineering Education Centers Division.
  • CE graduate student Davis Chacon-Hurtado was awarded the Outstanding Service Scholarship. This scholarship is presented to engineering graduate students who have provided outstanding service to the graduate student community, the School, the College, and/or the University.
  • PhD student Warda Ashraf has been named recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award. Warda works with Professor Jan Olek.
  • Doctoral student Tariq Usman Saeed was recently named a national Eno Fellow, Class of 2017, a select group of exceptionally promising graduate students who plan to pursue careers in transportation. Tariq has also been appointed as a young member to the Standing Committee on Statistical Methods (ABJ80) and the Standing Committee on Bridge Preservation (AHD37) of Transportation Research Board (TRB) of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Read the full article. Tariq works with Professor Samuel Labi.
  • On December 9, 2016, civil engineering students represented Purdue in the 10th International Bridge Contest. The team consisted of undergraduate students Daixi Yang, Sijia Wang, Ziyu Liu, Cheng Qian, Scott Houldieson, and graduate students Aishwarya Puranam and William Pollalis. Support for the team was provided by Prof. Santiago Pujol and his post-doc, Lucas Laughery.
  • Zachary Nichols is the first recipient of the newly established Bevan Blau Lewis Award for the top performing male civil engineering graduate.
  • Similarly, Sijia Wang is the first recipient of the new Margaret Julia Ward Award for the top performing female civil engineering graduate.


Your support makes it possible for the Lyles School of Civil Engineering to significantly
impact the lives of our students, our school, and all our constituents. We thank you for
your continued support!