Thomas D. O'Rourke


To Thomas D. O'Rourke for inspirational engineering teaching, for leadership in geotechnical and earthquake lifeline engineering, and for development of advanced technologies for new construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure.

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Ithaca, New York

  • BS 1970, Civil Engineering, Cornell University
  • MS 1973, Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • PhD 1975, Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

 Thomas D. O’Rourke is an inspirational engineering teacher and lecturer. He has authored or co-authored over 290 technical publications, and has made major contributions to water, gas, and oil pipeline engineering in the areas of pipe stress and deformation analysis, laboratory and field testing, and design procedures.

In earthquake engineering, he helped to clarify mechanisms of ground failure, soil liquefaction, and ground deformation effects on buried facilities. In underground construction technology, he has developed widely used procedures for predicting ground movements associated with deep excavations and the effects of such movements on adjacent buildings and utilities. He and his coworkers have performed research that led to national standards for pipeline crossings of railways and highways, administrative codes for replacement of older pipeline facilities, and improvements in the network modeling of water supply response to earthquakes.

He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has received several awards from professional societies, including the Collingwood, Huber Research, C. Martin Duke Lifeline Earthquake Engineering, Stephen D. Bechtel Pipeline Engineering, and Ralph B. Peck awards from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Hogentogler Award from the American Society for Testing and Materials, the Trevithick Prize from the British Institution of Civil Engineers, and the Japan Gas Award and Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) awards for outstanding papers. He received the University of Illinois Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association in 2000.

He served as president of EERI and as a member of the U.S. National Science Foundation Engineering Advisory Committee. He is a member of the executive committees of the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research and the Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering Board of Directors. He has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Science Committee several times on earthquake engineering technology and policy.

Current as of 2005.