Amr S. Elnashai, Director of the MAE Center, has been named the first holder of the William J. and Elaine F. Hall Endowed Professorship in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Emeritus Professor Hall is a renowned educator, researcher and public servant in structural and earthquake engineering. Dr. Elnashai's appointment as the first holder of the new professorship continues Professor Hall's legacy of excellence in scholarship, national leadership and service. William J. Hall attended the University of California, Berkeley and completed his BS degree in Civil Engineering University of Kansas, Lawrence following his service in World War II. He earned MS (1951) and PhD (1954) degrees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined our Department as an assistant professor in 1954, rising through the ranks to full professor in 1959. He served as Department Head from 1984 through 1991, and retired in 1993.
Professor Hall is internationally recognized for his teaching and research in structural engineering, earthquake engineering, and structural and soil dynamics. He is the author or co-author of more than 220 books, papers and reports of national importance. He held numerous leadership roles in professional societies. Professor Hall had major professional involvement with many large engineering projects including the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, nuclear power plants, agencies of the government (especially the U.S. Department of Defense), and the National Research Council. A few of his many honors and awards include the Newmark Medal and the Ernest E. Howard Award in 1984, and the C. Martin Duke Award in 1991, from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the prestigious Housner Award in 1998 from the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1968, to Honorary Membership in ASCE in 1987, and was elevated to National Honor Member of Chi Epsilon in 1998. Professor Hall remains quite active today in the department.
Mrs. Elaine F. Hall received a BA degree in 1947 from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, with a major in music. Mrs. Hall was head secretary in the Council on Teacher Education, College of Education, University of Illinois from 1949 to 1953. She has enjoyed close association with university students and their families throughout the years. Her many volunteer activities include the performance of music programs for nursing and retirement homes and other organizations. She is an active member of the Tuesday Morning Musical Club, Mu Phi Epsilon, Score Club, and PEO. She and Professor Hall are active members of the First Presbyterian Church of Urbana. The Halls have three children and four grandchildren.
A native of Cairo, Egypt, Professor Elnashai earned the BS in civil engineering from Cairo University, followed by the MS and PhD degrees from Imperial College, University of London. Before joining the University of Illinois in 2001, Amr was Professor of Earthquake Engineering and Head of the Engineering Seismology and Earthquake Engineering Section at Imperial College. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and serves as Director of the National Science Foundation-funded Mid-America Earthquake Center. He is also Director of the George E. Brown Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) laboratory at Illinois. He is Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the UK Institution of Structural Engineers. He is founder and co-editor of the Journal of Earthquake Engineering (SCI), a member of the drafting panel of the European, Egyptian and Saudi seismic design codes, past chairman of the UK earthquake engineering institution, and past senior Vice-President of the European Association of Earthquake Engineering. Amr has been Visiting Professor at the University of Surrey in the UK since 1997. Other visiting appointments include the University of Tokyo, the University of Southern California and the European School for Advanced Studies in Reduction of Seismic Risk, Italy, where he serves on the Board of Directors. He is member of the FIB Seismic Design Commission Working Groups on Buildings and Bridges and two Applied Technology Council technical committees. He has worked in the field and reported on most of the damaging earthquakes around the world since the mid-eighties, including the recent devastating earthquake in Kashmir. His technical interests are experimental, analytical and field investigations of the response of buildings and bridges to earthquakes, on which he has more than 200 research publications.