In Memoriam

in memoryThe School of Engineering sadly notes the passing of three valued instructors, alumni and friends, Drs. E. Russell Johnston, Jr. and Farhad Nadim, and Mr. C. Roger Ferguson.

Dr. Johnston, a professor emeritus of civil engineering, died January 24, 2010. He taught at UConn for 26 years, instructing thousands of students in the principles of structures, mechanics and materials during his distinguished career. He served as Head of the CE Department from 1972 to 1977. Prior to joining UConn, he served on the faculty at Lehigh University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Dr. Johnston was perhaps best known internationally for his collaborations with the late Ferdinand Beer, with whom he co-authored the books Mechanics for Engineers, Vector Mechanics for Engineers, and Mechanics of Materials — all published by McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. The publisher later added their names to its Outstanding New Mechanics Educator Award in recognition of their immense contributions to engineering education. In 1991, Dr. Johnston received the Outstanding Civil Engineer Award from the Connecticut Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

In recent years, UConn professor emeritus Dr. John DeWolf and Dr. David F. Mazurek, a professor at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a UConn alumnus (Ph.D. ’88), were added as co-authors on new editions of Mechanics of Materials and Statics & Mechanics of Materials. Reminiscing about his friend, Dr. DeWolf said “Russ hired me and was my principal mentor throughout my 36 years at UConn. He loved working with students and faculty, and he is regarded as a master teacher, master educator and a true gentleman. He and his long-time friend and co-author, Ferd Beer, set the stage for engineering mechanics education with their groundbreaking series, which has been used by more students than any other engineering books.”

Dr. Nadim was an adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering at the UConn Waterbury campus and a Senior Environmental Engineer at VeruTEK Technologies Inc. in Bloomfield, CT. He died on February 17, 2010. Earlier in his career, Dr. Nadim was a researcher at the Environmental Research Institute, a former UConn research center. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in environmental engineering from UConn (1995 and 2006, respectively), and an M.S. from the University of New Haven (1991). Dr. Nadim was an expert in the environmental remediation of contaminated soil and water, along with regional and international environmental planning. The School of Engineering offers heartfelt condolences to his family.

Mr. Ferguson, also an alumnus, was formerly a lecturer in the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department (1972-2000). He died January 25, 2010 in Moscow, ID. Mr. Ferguson earned a B.S. degree in accounting (’59) and B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil engineering (’70, ’72) from UConn.

He was a popular and respected instructor who taught surveying and the capstone senior design courses. Mr. Ferguson received the C.R. Klewin Award for Excellence in Teaching from the CEE Department in 1994 and 1998, the 1998 National Society of Professional Surveyors Surveying Excellence Award, and the 1997 Earle J. Fennell Award. He served as president, and was a Fellow, of the New England section of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, and he was a founding charter member and first president of the Geographic and Land Information Society. Mr. Ferguson was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Association of Land Surveyors (CALS), and represented CALS to the National Society of Professional Surveyors Board of Governors for many years. Following his retirement from UConn, Mr. Ferguson took a position at the University of Idaho. Earlier in his career, he owned his own surveying business and served as the City Engineer for the Town of Windham for three years as well as General Manager at Towne Engineering for five years.

Emeritus professor Christian Davis reflected, “I had the pleasure of knowing Roger for over 30 years. A beloved teacher, his dedication to the profession of surveying and to his students was obvious and a major reason he was such an effective instructor. He will be sorely missed.”