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Gems of Structural Engg - C. K. Wang - (Post-10)

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:57 am    Post subject: Gems of Structural Engg - C. K. Wang - (Post-10) Reply with quote

Chu-Kia Wang

: A legacy of excellence

More than 60 years ago, C.K. Wang began a journey that led him from his native China to the engineering laboratories of UW-Madison. His life's work was the inspiration behind the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering creating a named professorship in his honor.

Wang came to the United States in 1941 for a graduate fellowship at the University of Colorado. Backed by the strong recommendations of his mentor and professor, Clarence Eckel, then head of civil engineering at Colorado, he was able to complete his PhD at the University of Illinois in 1945. In 1943, Wang worked one year in the airplane industry, searching for a thesis topic and aiming to help the war effort. He accomplished this in his published PhD thesis on the stress analysis of large holes with reinforcing rings, such as those used in airplanes for weight reduction. After PhD then he worked in the airline industry to help the American war effort. He taught for 12 years in Colorado and Illinois before coming to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1960.

Years later, Wang established the Dean Clarence L. Eckel Memorial Awards for faculty and students in civil engineering at Colorado to honor Eckel's commitment.

Wang's career flourished as a member of the CEE department, and he became widely recognized as one of the country's leading engineers in the study of structures. His textbooks, including Reinforced Concrete Design (co-authored with fellow CEE Professor Charles Salmon and Statistically Intermediate Designs, are internationally recognized and considered standard texts in the field of structural engineering. During his tenure, Wang was credited with authoring more than 10,000 pages of text in nine book titles.

He was also among the first in his field to understand the importance of computer technology to structural engineering. Well ahead of colleagues, he designed computerized analysis procedures, and conducted courses funded by the National Science Foundation to teach them to faculty from throughout the United States and Canada. Working with his graduate students, and financed by an NSF grant, Wang also developed new computer procedures in advanced structural analysis.

Wang's first objective was to help each one of his students reach their full potential. Students were greeted with an open door policy, invited to stop in at all times to discuss classes, research, or the field of structural engineering. In 1974, Wang received the college's prestigious Benjamin Smith Reynolds Award for Excellence in Teaching Future Engineers. But for Wang, his students always came first. He was known as a tough and demanding professor, yet they admired him. During his 32-year tenure, he taught thousands of students, and served as principal advisor to 48 master's and 17 PhD students. "I wanted to help each one of them," he said.

C.K. Wang had the ability to instill discipline in students that would last their entire career.  - says Rene Dupuis, PhD, PE, President, Structural Research, Inc.

C.K. was so enthusiastic about his teaching that every lecture was both a listening and a visual pleasure. Structural analysis, an otherwise dry subject, became alive. C.K. became my sponsor, mentor and role model. I would have never pursued and succeeded in an academic career without him. He is one of the individuals who had the most influence on my life. In addition to his international stature as a teacher and researcher, C.K. could be counted upon for moral and personal guidance. In my mind, he was the conscience of the department.

Wang retired from the CEE faculty in 1992, and continues to enjoy an active life in Florida. His wife of 50 years passed away several years ago, and he is married now to the widow of one of his classmates from his undergraduate years. He has taken up golf, enjoys traveling, and hearing from former students at UW-Madison. Former students of Wang's share their thoughts by E-mailing.

'Above seen students of Prof. C. K. Wang - in Building and Bridge Design Team'

'Above seen a few of the popular books by Prof. C. K. Wang'

'Structural Engg Students - Group Study at Kurt F. Library'

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