ASCE has honored Edmond Saliklis, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, with the 2022 George Winter Award for technical contributions as a structural engineer, his embrace of the arts and humanities throughout his work, and his demonstrated passion, inspiration, and creativity in the classroom.
Saliklis is a performer and goes to great lengths to engage his students. In his Matrix Structural Analysis course, he appears as Matrix Man. In Structural Dynamics, he transforms into Orthogonal Man. First, the traditional use of the phrase describes someone interested in the arts, in letters, and in science and mathematics. Saliklis truly embodies these characteristics. He is a semiprofessional musician, having performed in the San Luis Obispo local music scene for many years, but also on some astonishing venues around the world. He sang Schubert’s entire 24-song cycle Winterreise at the concert hall Tuskuleno Dvaras in Vilnius, Lithuania. He has also performed it at the San Luis Obispo Mission. Not only is he an accomplished performer, he is a composer and has written works for piano, for choir, and has created many fun parody songs that entertain students and parents, engendering a substantial YouTube following.
He views the classroom as a stage, and uses a variety of techniques to perform and make the learning experience as exciting, compelling, and fun as possible. He received a $2,400 fellowship from ASCE to attend the Excellence in Civil Engineering (ExCEEd) teaching workshop (ETW) in 2011. He performed so well that he joined the ExCEEd faculty as an assistant mentor the following year, and his legacy lives on.
Saliklis is as at-ease in his freshmen classes and the master’s levels as he is moving across the various disciplines offered to engineering students at Cal Poly. His colleagues gush over the way he moves gracefully through the sciences, arts, and humanities, pointing to his writing and performing songs about engineering, developing courses on the history of structures, and wearing costumes to keep students focused and engaged. The superiority of Saliklis’ teaching extends beyond his colleagues, past his students, and touches Cal Poly alumni who have had the opportunity to work with him as he imparted the wisdom necessary to usher his students into seeing “the Big Picture” that comes at the intersection of the sciences and humanities.
Saliklis embodies the spirit of the late George Winter as an instructor who doesn’t see engineering as ranked above other disciplines, but instead sees that all disciplines are integral to a deeper understanding of engineering and the humans whom engineers seek to serve.
The award is named for Dr. George Winter, world-renowned teacher and researcher at Cornell University, who died in 1982. The George Winter Award is intended as a recognition of the achievements of an active structural engineering researcher, educator, or practitioner who best typifies Winter’s humanistic approach to his profession – i.e., an equal concern for matters technical and social, for art as well as science, and for soul as well as intellect.