Department of

Civil and Environmental Engineering



Kavanagh Lecture - Biographical Sketch

The Fourteenth Thomas C. Kavanagh Memorial Structural Engineering Lecture

April 5, 2007

7:30 pm

Applied Research Laboratory Auditorium

Risk Issues in the Built Environment


Ross B. Corotis
Denver Business Challenge Professor of Engineering
University of Colorado at Boulder


Dr. Corotis received both his undergraduate and graduate education at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While at MIT, he was an NSF Graduate Fellow. His degrees are in civil engineering, with an undergraduate minor-equivalent in economics. His doctoral concentration was structural mechanics.

He was on the faculty at Northwestern University for eleven years, and was awarded the Technological Institute Teaching Award in 1977. He was twice named to the Student Government Faculty Honor Roll, and in 1979 was selected Civil Engineering Teacher of the Year. In 1981, Dr. Corotis moved to Johns Hopkins to establish the Department of Civil Engineering, which he chaired until becoming Associate Dean in 1990, where he continued to teach and conduct research. In 1994, Dr. Corotis accepted the position of Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and in 2001 he stepped down to become the Denver Business Challenge Professor.

With a background in structural mechanics and stochastic vibrations, his primary research interests are in the application of probabilistic concepts to civil engineering. He has directed NSF projects on stochastic modeling of loads on structures, structural system reliability, wind characteristics, and mesoscale storm modeling. In addition, he has directed ERDA and DOE projects on the analysis of wind characteristics for energy conversion systems, and NIST projects on building loads. Recently he has focused on risk and risk perception in the built environment, including societal tradeoffs of investments involving hazards and political issues.

Dr. Corotis has been a member of the ASCE Structural Division Technical Committees on the Safety of Buildings (past chair) and Practical Reliability Concepts, the Technical Administrative Committee on Structural Safety and Reliability (past chair), the Administrative Committee on Research, the Engineering Mechanics Division Committee on Probabilistic Methods (past chair), the ACI Committee on Structural Safety (past chair), the Subcommittee on Live Loads of the ASCE Minimum Design Loads Standards Committee (past chair), the CIB Commission on Actions on Structures, and the International Federation for Information Processing Committee on Reliability and Optimization of Structures. He was Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Structural Safety, is a member of the International Association for Structural Safety and Reliability (past chair of the Executive Board), and serves on the Board of Assessment for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where he is chair of the Building and Fire Research Laboratory Panel. He currently serves as an Affiliate Member of the Multihazards Mitigation Council, and is the Editor of the ASCE Journal of Engineering Mechanics. He is the author of more than 170 publications and has given over 100 presentations at professional meetings and symposia. He was awarded the ASCE Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize in 1984 for his work on stochastic modeling of structural loads, was named Civil Engineer of the Year by the ASCE Maryland Section in 1986, Engineer of the Year by the Baltimore Engineers' Week Council in 1989, and Outstanding Engineering Educator by the ASCE Maryland Section in 1992. He is past President of the ASCE Maryland Section. He was named a Distinguished Engineering Alumnus (Special) of the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2000, and elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2002, and in 2006 he won the Boulder campus teaching award. Dr. Corotis is a member of Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi, and Chi Epsilon and is both a registered professional engineer (Colorado, Maryland, Illinois) and structural engineer (Illinois).