Contact: Ellen Sterner
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7650

October 12, 2001


DALLAS (SMU) -- Southern Methodist University’s Board of Trustees has approved the creation of three new degrees in environmental and civil engineering.

The new degrees are a master’s degree in civil engineering, a master’s degree in environmental engineering and a master’s degree in facilities management. All three degree programs will be available beginning in spring 2002.

The degrees will be offered by the Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering in the SMU School of Engineering. This department was created last year in response to growing demand for these types of engineers.

Civil engineering was one of the first engineering majors offered at SMU, but the program was eliminated in 1992. Bringing back this program was one of Stephen Szygenda’s priorities when he became dean of the SMU School of Engineering in August 2000.

“Civil Engineering is a fundamental discipline in engineering, and it is important that we provide our students the opportunity to pursue studies in this area,” Szygenda said.

The new master’s degree in civil engineering will emphasize structural engineering and is designed for students with an undergraduate degree in either civil or mechanical engineering who want to advance to a higher level professionally or pursue a Ph.D.

Huitt-Zollars Inc., a major civil engineering and construction management firm based in Dallas, has created an endowment to provide scholarships for students who want to pursue degrees in civil engineering at SMU. Robert Zollars, a 1972 SMU civil engineering graduate, is president of Huitt-Zollars.

The master’s degree in environmental engineering will emphasize industrial waste management and pollution prevention. It is designed for students who have an undergraduate degree in an engineering discipline or the sciences. This degree complements SMU’s existing master’s degree in environmental systems management, which has been in place since 1991 and is directed toward working professionals.

The master’s degree in facilities engineering is designed for working professionals who are responsible for maintaining major facilities such as hospitals, shopping centers or large building complexes. The program will pull together coursework from a variety of fields, including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and civil engineering.

“There is no other program like this in the country,” said Ed Forest, chair of the Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering at SMU. Forest said the program would be suitable for students with an undergraduate degree in either engineering or science.

For more information on these new programs or the SMU School of Engineering, visit its Web site at