Distinguished Member David Alan VanHorn, an educator and 37-year veteran of the civil engineering department at Lehigh University, has died. He was 91.
As chair for 17 years, he led Lehigh’s CE department to its highest national rankings.
VanHorn, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, worked three years for the Federal Highway Administration before returning to his alma mater, Iowa State University, to both complete his two degrees and begin the first few years of his career. He then taught at Lehigh University from 1962 onward, becoming a full professor and chairing the department for 17 years. He retired in 1995 as a professor emeritus. He had a lifelong passion for engineering education and enjoyed teaching. He advised hundreds of civil engineering students and alumni.
VanHorn was a life member of and contributor to ASCE, and in 2001 received distinguished membership, the Society’s highest honor, for his career in engineering education, teaching, structural engineering research, and outstanding professional service. For 23 years he contributed to the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), of which he was a fellow after leading scores of accreditation teams and serving in multiple leadership roles.
His research was well represented by a long list of published articles on the structural behavior of concrete structures.
Maintaining a balance between learning and athletics was essential to him, so he complemented his academics as a faculty representative on various university athletic committees. VanHorn was a fixture at Lehigh University home wrestling meets and traveled to many competitions nationwide.
He was a president of the board of the Buchanan Park Housing Corporation in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He was a Rotary Club member and held other civic and charitable positions.