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Inaugural Distinguished Alumni in Civil Engineering

Dr. Robert E. Englekirk (M.S. 1965, Ph.D., 1970) and Dr. Soroosh Sorooshian (M.S. 1973, Eng. 1977, Ph.D., 1978) selected as the first recipients of the CEE Distinguished Alumnus Award

Inaugural Distinguished Alumni in Civil Engineering

Dr. Robert E. Englekirk (left) and Dr. Soroosh Sorooshian (right).

Dr. Robert E. Englekirk (M.S. 1965, Ph.D., 1970) has been selected as an inaugural recipient of the UCLA Civil Engineering Distinguished Alumnus Award. Dr. Englekirk is an internationally recognized expert and leader in the field of Structural Engineering for his innovative and constructible design of reinforced concrete. His present position is Chairman Emeritus of Englekirk Institutional, a company he originally founded (prior to several name changes) in 1969.

A registered structural engineer since 1967, some of his notable projects have included the Getty Center in Brentwood, the Hollywood/Highland Project, and the tallest concrete building in California located at 3rd and Mission in San Francisco, also known as the Paramount Apartments. He has been instrumental in paving the way for many innovations in precast concrete construction and the use of high strength concrete.

Dr. Englekirk has had a long-standing commitment to sharing his professional expertise with students, having taught graduate courses in concrete and steel design at UCLA, USC, and UC San Diego. He also sits on the Industry Advisory Board of the Robert & Natalie Englekirk Structural Engineering Research Center at UCSD, which features the world’s largest outdoor shake table, and the Institutional Board of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center at UC Berkeley.

Dr. Englekirk is very active in professional societies. He is a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) and the Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) and a member of the Los Angeles Tall Building Structural Design Council, Structural Engineers Association of California, and Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. He has published several leading textbooks in his field, including “Seismic Design of Reinforced and Precast Concrete Buildings” in 2003 and “Steel Structures: Controlling Behavior Through Design” in 1994 (both published by John Wiley & Sons).

His many accomplishments to the profession have been recognized with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Construction Industry Lifetime Achievement

Award in 2001, the PCI Medal of Honor in 2007, the ACI Alfred E. Lindau Award in 1983, the ACI Henry C. Turner Award in 1985, and the outstanding alumnus award from Tulane University in 1997. 


Dr. Soroosh Sorooshian (M.S. 1973, Eng. 1977, Ph.D., 1978) has been selected as an inaugural recipient of the UCLA Civil Engineering Distinguished Alumnus Award. Dr. Sorooshian is an internationally recognized expert in the field of Water Resources Engineering. His present position is Distinguished Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UC Irvine, and he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, among other honors.

Since his first academic appointment in 1978, he has been unusually productive in scholarly publishing, having produced over 190 refereed journal papers.  The impact of his publications can be measured by the citations that he has received -- more than 9000 citations with an h-index of 48.

Dr. Sorooshian has made a significant and major impact on the research areas of watershed modeling, parameter estimation, hydro-climatic modeling, and application of remote sensing to hydrology.  He developed optimization methods for parameter estimation for physically-based watershed models in general and the Sacramento model in particular.  Soroosh’s pioneering and ground-breaking work on combining global optimization with maximum likelihood estimation to overcome the inherent difficulties in parameter estimation is well recognized.  The methodology that he developed has been adopted by the U.S. Weather Service into its river-forecast system.   

Dr. Sorooshian is extremely active in professional society activities and has contributed extensively to our profession.  For example, from 1988 to 1992, he served as editor of Water Resources Research, the flagship journal in the field of water resources.  From 1998 to 2000, he served as President of the Hydrology Section of the American Geophysical Union.  This is one of the highest leadership positions in our profession.  From 1989 to 1996, he served as head of the highly respected Department of Hydrology and Water Resources at the University of Arizona.  To he has mentored over 40 PhD students; many of them now hold important positions in government, industry, and universities.

Clearly, Dr. Sorooshian has established himself as a nationally and internationally renowned scholar/researcher and leader in the field of hydrology.  His accomplishments and contributions to research and the profession have been well recognized.  He is a Fellow of AAAS, AGU, IWRA, AMS and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.  He has been elected to three academies: The U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE), The International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS).  In 2005, he received the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal.  In 2010, He received the 4th Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water in the Resources Management & Protection Branch category.  Finally, and most recently, he has been selected to receive the 2013 AGU Robert E. Horton Medal, the highest honor in the field of hydrology.

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