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April 12, 2003

SMU Names New Chair For Department Of Environmental And Civil Engineering

Bijan MohrazDALLAS (SMU) -- SMU Engineering Professor Bijan Mohraz has been named chair of the Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering. The department established in 2001, offers undergraduate and graduate programs in civil engineering, environmental engineering, and environmental science. In addition, the department offers a master of science degree in facilities management.

"Every major structure critical to this country depends on the work of civil and environmental engineers," Mohraz said. "Environmental and civil engineers are engaged in planning, design, construction, maintenance and management of the nation's infrastructure. The strength of the SMU program is not only the technical training but also the emphasis on the social and ethical dimensions of the field."

Environmental and civil engineers are responsible for disposal of hazardous and radioactive waste; air quality and pollution control; design of water supply and waste water treatment systems; transportation systems; power plants; high-rise buildings; and even aerospace structures and space stations.

Stephen Szygenda, dean of the SMU School of Engineering, says the popular teacher, administrator and researcher brings years of valuable experience to the department.

"We're indeed fortunate to have somebody with the stature that Professor Mohraz has to lead this young department into the future and build SMU's civil and environmental degree programs," said Szygenda. "He's an internationally respected scholar and researcher in his field who has extensive administrative experience."

Mohraz has filled a variety of positions since coming to SMU's engineering school in 1974. He currently is a professor of mechanical engineering and the associate dean for academic affairs. Previously he served as chair of the former Civil and Mechanical Engineering Department and as associate dean and director of the Graduate Division of the school. Students have recognized him three times as an Outstanding Professor at SMU.

An expert on structural and earthquake engineering, Mohraz has received research grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and has served as a consultant to public and private sectors. He has published more than 80 technical articles including two chapters for handbooks on seismic design. He is the editor of the Journal of Architectural Engineering. Mohraz is a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the president elect of the Board of Governors of the Architectural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Mohraz received his Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Illinois and served on the faculty prior to joining SMU. From 1994 - 1998, he was on leave as a visiting scholar at the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology working to improve seismic design guidelines and specifications. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Texas.

In addition to Environmental and Civil Engineering, the school has departments of Computer Science and Engineering; Electrical Engineering; Engineering Management, Information and Systems; and Mechanical Engineering. The Jerry R. Junkins Electrical Engineering Building, which opened in August 2002, provides expanded and enhanced laboratory and classroom facilities for the school.