Thomas O’Rourke to be Awarded Housner Medal at EERI Annual Meeting

Thomas D. O'Rourke

Thomas D. O’Rourke

Thomas D. O’Rourke (M. EERI, 1980), the Thomas R. Briggs Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University, will be presented with the George W. Housner Medal at the 2016 EERI Annual Meeting. The Housner Medal is awarded to recognize Institute members and others who have made extraordinary and lasting contributions to public earthquake safety through the development and application of earthquake hazard reduction practices and policies.

O’Rourke’s research has had a critical impact on lifeline earthquake engineering across the globe and has improved understanding of the response of geographically distributed systems—such as water supply and electric power networks—to earthquakes and other natural hazards. Involved in earthquake engineering for over 30 years, O’Rourke has been recognized with numerous awards, including the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Charles Martin Duke Lifeline Earthquake Engineering Award, the Stephen D. Bechtel Pipeline Engineering Award, the Japan Gas Association Best Paper Award, and the LeVal Lund Award for Practicing Lifeline Risk Reduction.

Dr. O’Rourke has held numerous service positions that have allowed him to greatly impact the field of earthquake risk reduction. In 1998, he was elected to the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) Board of Directors and served as President from 2003–2004. He testified before the United States House of Representatives Science Committee on engineering implications of the 1999 Turkey and Taiwan earthquakes, and in both 2003, and 2009, on the reauthorization of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). He is currently using his expertise to help with the recovery planning for Christchurch, New Zealand, an area significantly impacted by the effects of the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence on its underground pipeline network.

Over his career, he has authored or co-authored over 360 publications on geotechnical, underground, earthquake engineering, and the impact of extreme events on civil infrastructure. His most notable awards, among many, are his election to the US National Academy of Engineering in 1993, his election as an International Fellow of the British Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014, his selection as the 2008 Rankine Lecturer, and his selection as the 2016 Karl Terzaghi Lecturer. He is a Distinguished Member of ASCE and an Honorary Member of EERI.

Dr. O’Rourke will received the George W. Housner Medal, EERI’s most prestigious honor, during the 68th EERI Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California, April 5–8, 2016. Registration and full program details are now available on the 2016 Annual Meeting website.