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Seminar: Meet Four Great Engineers at the Hoosac Tunnel

Event Date: December 2, 2016
Speaker: Dr. Clifford Schexnayder
Speaker Affiliation: Arizona State University
Time: 01:30pm
Location: HAMP 3153
Contact Name: Becca Miller
Contact Phone: (765) 494-2240
Contact Email:
Priority: No
School or Program: Construction Engineering and Management
College Calendar: Show
Clifford Schexnayder, Eminent Scholar Emeritus at Arizona State University, will speak at 1:30pm Dec. 2 in Delon and Elizabeth Hampton Hall of Civil Engineering Room 3153. He is returning as an alum to give his talk as part of the Construction Engineering and Management 40th Anniversary Speaker Series.

Meet Four Great Engineers at the Hoosac Tunnel

Clifford J. Schexnayder, Ph.D.
Eminent Scholar Emeritus
Del E. Webb School of Construction
Arizona State University

December 2, 2016
1:30 PM
HAMP 3153

For more information:  Becca Miller,


The story of the Hoosac Tunnel is about engineers, the dreamers and doers; it embraces the country from the Atlantic coast of Massachusetts to the prairies of Iowa. The completion of the five-mile Hoosac Tunnel was one of the great engineering achievements of 19th-century America. Until 1916, the Hoosac, which is 25,081 ft in length, was the longest tunnel in North America. By accident, the challenge of tunneling the Mountain taught men how to use nitroglycerin without blowing themselves up. To hole through mile after mile of hard rock, machinists and tinkers produced a reliable percussion rock drill. And the ingenuity of two men on the west side of the Hoosac Mountain led to perfection of the electric blasting cap. Those three achievements moved tunneling into the 20th century. The tunnel work was a confrontation between man and mountain. This challenge brought together many of America’s greatest civil engineers and a large number of these engineers sprang from a single source, a pioneering canal effort after the Revolutionary War to connect Boston and Lowell, Massachusetts.

Schexnayder portrait

Clifford J. Schexnayder is an Eminent Scholar Emeritus at the Del E. Webb School of Construction, Arizona State University. He received his Ph.D. in civil engineering (construction engineering and management) from Purdue University, and a Master’s and Bachelor’s in civil engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. A construction engineer with over 50 years of practical experience, Dr. Schexnayder has worked with major heavy/highway construction contractors as field engineer, estimator, and corporate chief engineer. Additionally, he served with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on active duty and in the reserves, retiring as a colonel. His last assignment was as Executive Director, Directorate of Military Programs, Office of the Chief of Engineers, Washington, D.C. He has served as a consultant to the Autoridad del Canal de Panama, Secretary of the Business, Transportation & Housing Agency of California to review risks associated with constructing the main east span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian for its The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire exhibit. He is a registered professional engineer in four states, a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a member of the National Academy of Construction. Cliff served as chairman of the ASCE’s Construction Division and on the task committee, which formed the ASCE Construction Institute. From 1997 to 2003 he served as chairman of the Transportation Research Board’s Construction Section.