Virginia Tech Distinguished Professor Receives National Civil Engineering Award
Reston, Va. – Career engineering educator, J. Michael Duncan, Ph.D., P.E., Dist. M.ASCE, who recently retired as a Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Distinguished Professor Emeritus, will be honored as the recipient of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) 2009 Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Lifetime Achievement Award for education. The award, which recognizes Duncan’s extraordinary contributions in the realm of education since 1965, will be presented Thursday, April 23, 2009, during ASCE’s annual OPAL Gala at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Va.
“There are many engineering students who have greatly benefited from Mike Duncan’s teachings and numerous publications,” said ASCE President D. Wayne Klotz, P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE. “By sharing his expertise in geotechnical engineering with the countless engineers who have passed through his classroom, Duncan has had a great impact on the practice of engineering.”
Duncan first entered the classroom as part of the faculty of the University of California-Berkeley in 1965. He was promoted to professor in 1973, and became responsible for developing and teaching geotechnical engineering undergraduate and graduate courses. He later became chairman of the school’s Geotechnical Group.
In 1984, Duncan moved to Virginia Tech, where he was appointed the W. Thomas Rice Professor of civil engineering, and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in geotechnical engineering, dealing with soil mechanics, foundations and earth dams.
Duncan’s principal research interests have been in slope stability, soil-structure interaction, design and analysis of foundations, strength and deformation properties of soils, finite element analysis of stresses and deformations in earth masses, seepage through soil and the safety of dams. He has authored more than 200 geotechnical engineering publications, including manuals on settlement studies, slope stability, design of buried culverts, shallow foundations, driven pile foundations, drilled shaft foundations, retaining walls, bridge abutments and application of reliability methods.
In addition, Duncan has developed computer programs for analysis of stresses and movements in dams, soil-structure interaction, consolidation settlements, retaining wall stability, design of buried culverts, design of anchored bulkheads and analysis of lateral loads on deep foundations.
Since 1965, Duncan has also served as an independent geotechnical engineering consultant on projects in the United States, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Indonesia, Japan and New Zealand.
Elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1985, Duncan has also served as chairman of the Geotechnical Group of the San Francisco Section of ASCE, chairman of ASCE’s Embankment Dams and Slopes Committee, and chairman of ASCE’s Executive Committee of the Geotechnical Division.
Duncan received three Outstanding Faculty Awards from the University of California-Berkeley, the George Westinghouse National teaching Award from the American Society for Engineering Education, and four College of Engineering Teaching Excellence Awards from Virginia Tech.
Duncan was named Virginia’s Outstanding Engineering Educator in 1994. In 2007, he was awarded the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal by the Department of the Army for his work investigating failures and levees in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
Duncan earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Georgia Tech, and his doctorate from the University of California-Berkeley. A licensed professional engineer in California and Virginia, he resides in Blacksburg, Va.
Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 146,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America’s oldest national engineering society. For more information, visit www.asce.org.