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Colorado Section Celebrates Centennial

February 2009 Volume 34, Number 2

Short Takes

The Colorado Section celebrated its 100th anniversary on Thursday, January 8, in the Centennial Room at Denver’s Hyatt Regency Tech Center. Approximately 140 attendees joined in festivities commemorating the founding of the Colorado Section on January 9, 1909, as well as a century of civil engineering in Colorado.

Jeffrey May, P.E., M.ASCE, the section’s president, called the meeting to order using a gavel donated to the section by Herbert S. Crocker, Dist.M.ASCE, who became the Society’s president in 1932. Then John Hickenlooper, Denver’s mayor, spoke about the contributions that civil engineers have made to Denver and to Colorado. He was followed by Blaine D. Leonard, P.E., F.ASCE, the Society’s president-elect, who recounted some of the engineering and infrastructure achievements of the past 100 years and outlined some of the challenges facing engineers today. Leonard also talked about The Vision for Civil Engineering in 2025 and discussed how civil engineers of the future will be expected to assume more prominent roles as stewards of the infrastructure.

Richard Wiltshire, P.E., F.ASCE, who chairs the Colorado Section’s History and Heritage Committee, briefly surveyed the history of civil engineering in Colorado, noting the achievements in roughly AD 750 at Mesa Verde, and then turned his attention to the history of the section, which was founded as the Colorado Association of Members of ASCE. As Wiltshire explained, ASCE members in Colorado hosted the Society’s annual conference in 1908 and then decided to follow the example of San Francisco, which had established an ASCE section in 1905. ASCE’s records indicate that, if all categories of membership are included, the section had 70 members at the time of its founding. Among them were Crocker; Milo S. Ketchum, Sr., Dist.m.ASCE, a pioneer in engineering education; Raymond F. Walter, m.ASCE, and Sinclair O. Harper, f.ASCE, both of whom rose to become the chief engineer of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; and Lawrence C. Phipps, an associate member (similar to today’s affiliate member) who represented Colorado in the U.S. Senate from 1919 to 1931.

The centennial program concluded with a salute to the 16 presidents who have served the section. In paying tribute to those officers, May was joined by Patrick J. Natale, P.E., F.ASCE, ASCE’s executive director; and Sharon Wilson, P.E., M.ASCE, the chair of the section’s Awards Committee.