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Invited Seminar featuring Craig Benson, Univ. of Virginia

Date: Time: 10:30 am–11:30 am
Scott Engineering Center Room: 237 / PKI 250
Additional Info: SEC
Dr. Craig Benson (Dean, School of Engineering at the University of Virginia) will present “Sustainability: Compelling Value Proposition for Civil & Environmental Engineering.”

April 11, 2019
10:30 – 11:30 AM
Scott Engineering Center 237 / Peter Kiewit Institute 250

Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) provides the backbone supporting economic growth and quality of life worldwide. Buildings, roadways, railways, water supply and quality, and air quality are critical for society to thrive. Growth and success brings challenges as well, as the earth has finite resources for society to share. Developing resources has broad impacts on the environment that can alter quality of life and opportunity for future growth. The infrastructure that CEEs provide and manage plays a large role in resource consumption and impact. Managing growth from a lens of sustainability ensures society can promote both economic growth and quality of life for all. CEE, as one of the oldest engineering disciplines, has the opportunity to steer society towards sustainable growth practices by applying principles of sustainability in engineering design. In this presentation, this opportunity is described and examples are provided how sustainability can be infused into CEE infrastructure projects.

Craig H. Benson is Dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Virginia as well as the Hamilton Endowed Chair in Engineering. Dr. Benson has a BS from Lehigh University and MSE and PhD degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining the University of Virginia, Dean Benson was appointed as a Distinguished Professor, Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Chair of Geological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was also Director of Sustainability Research and Education for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, leading one of the three cross-campus strategic initiatives.

During Benson’s time at UVA, the School of Engineering has developed a new strategic plan focused on interdisciplinary research and education that has developed linkages between traditional academic units within the School of Engineering and amongst the other schools and colleges at UVA. The research enterprise has grown more than 30% each year, and the School has received more than $60M in strategic investments. Enhancing diversity is a pillar of the strategic plan, which has included a $30M Clark Scholars endowment to provide scholarships for 80 diverse undergraduate students in Engineering. Amongst public universities, the School of Engineering has achieved the highest 4-yr graduation rate, the highest 4-yr graduation rate for African American students, and the highest percentage of women engineering undergraduates in the nation. The graduate student population in Engineering has grown substantially, including a 68% increase in PhD students, and is now the second largest at UVA next to the School of Medicine. The number of women and African American applicants to the PhD program has more than doubled, and graduate program rankings are on a steady upward trend.

Dr. Benson is an eminent scholar in geoenvironmental engineering and a professional engineer with a career-long record of public and professional service. Dr. Benson served on the Environmental Engineering Committee of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board and currently serves on ExxonMobil’s Sustainability Advisory Committee and the National Academy of Engineering’s Roundtable Linking Academic Engineering Research and Defense Basic Science. He also serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, an industrial consortium focused on developing advanced manufacturing technology for US industry. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), a fellow of the American Academy for Advancement of Science (AAAS), and a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

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This event originated in Engineering Research.