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Achieving a long-time goal

Queen’s engineering professor delivers prestigious Terzaghi Lecture.

A momentous achievement in a long and distinguished career, Queen’s civil engineering professor R. Kerry Rowe achieved a long-time goal last month when he delivered the Karl Terzaghi Lecture at the invitation of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Geo-Institute.

Dr. Rowe delivered the ASCE Terzaghi Lecture this past March. He described the experience as the achievement of a goal held since his time as a graduate student. (Photo Credit: ASCE/Mark Skalny)

“Ever since I was a graduate student, I felt that being selected to deliver the (British Geotechnical Association’s) Rankine Lecture or the Terzaghi Lecture would signify reaching the peak of the profession,” says Dr. Rowe. “It’s an incredible honour to be selected to present both in the last few years.”

Established in 1963, the lecture is named in honour of Karl von Terzaghi – regarded as the founder of modern scientific soil mechanics. For over two decades, Dr. Rowe has been at the forefront of developing new methods for preventing contaminants from waste disposal and mining sites from affecting surface and groundwater. His work has received countless accolades, including the Killam Prize for Engineering (2004). He has also been elected a Fellow of both the Royal Academy of Engineering (2010) and is the only Canadian civil engineer elected to the Royal Society in the UK. In 2013, the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering honoured him by naming the R. Kerry Rowe Lecture in recognition of his contributions to the formation and development of the discipline of geoenvironmental engineering.

“Dr. Rowe is a pioneer in the field of geosynthetics and has made immeasurable contributions to the development of new technologies and methods to prevent the contamination of water sources by mining and landfill activity,” says Dr. John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “Being invited to deliver this prestigious lecture is indicative of Rowe’s national and international leadership in civil engineering. I wish him my most sincere congratulations.”

While acknowledging that the invitation was a deeply personal honour, Dr. Rowe is quick to highlight the contributions of colleagues as well as past and present graduate students in allowing for the work for which he is most well known.

“Recognitions such as this are not just as a result of my work, but the work of a fantastic set of colleagues that I have at Queen’s and the graduate students I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years,” says Dr. Rowe. “This it’s not just a recognition of me, but of our work together and that a lot of the credit goes to them.”

For more information on the ASCE Karl Terzaghi Lecture, please visit the website.