Chester P. Siess


Chester P. Siess

Educator – Researcher – Structural Engineer – Author

Concrete Engineer – Teaching – Research – Consulting

Fifty-first National Honor Member Nominated by the University Illinoi Chapter

Dr. Chester Paul Siess began his service to our profession in 1936 as Survey Party Chief for the Louisiana Highway Commission. But soon after, in September, 1937, he began his lifelong career at the University of Illinois by starting his graduate studies, having been awarded a half-time appointment as a graduate research assistant in the Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (T. & A.M.). With the exception of work with the Chicago Subway Soils Laboratory and the New York Central Railroad Bridge Office between June, 1939, and September, 1941, Chester Siess has given himself to his profession and to the students at the University of Illinois until his retirement in 1978. Dr. Siess is presently Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at the University of Illinois.

Chester Siess’, who was born in Alexandria, Louisiana, holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Louisiana State University, 1936, and both a M.S. in C.E., 1939, and a PhD. in C.E., 1948, from the University of Illinois. His career positions at the University of Illinois include Special Research Associate of T. & A.M., 1941-45; Special Research Assistant Professor of T & A.M., 1945-49; Research Assistant Professor of C.E., 1949-50; Research Associate Professor of C.E., 1950-55; Professor of C.E., 1955-present; Professor and Head of C.E. Dept., 1973-78; Professor Emeritus, 1978-present.

Dr. Siess’ primary contributions to the profession include, first and foremost, his relentless efforts, through his research studies, to improve our understanding of the behavior of reinforced and prestressed concrete elements, and, thereby, to improve the bases upon which such structures are more safely and economically designed. The citation accompanying his 1968 ASCE Ernest E. Howard Award states it well, reading: “Through his extensive research in reinforced and prestressed concrete, the translation of his research results, his informative writings, his effective teaching and stimulation of students and coworkers, Chester P. Siess has made significant contributions to Structural Engineering, with worldwide influence.” His contributions to the profession are further exemplified by his extensive participation in numerous technical societies, including, in particular, the American Concrete Institute, in which he holds Honorary Membership, and which he served as President (1974-75), as long-time member and Chairman of Committee 318 (Standard Building Code), as member of Committee 349 (Concrete Nuclear Structures), and as member of Committee 359 (Joint ACE-ASCE Concrete Components for Nuclear Reactors). As a consequence of this outstanding record of accomplishments, he was appointed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to serve on its Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, a position that he held from 1968 until 1992. Other active professional society memberships include: ASCE (Honorary Member, 1978), ASEE, and IABSE. His scholarly works include some 15 monographs, 42 articles in technical journals, and 29 conference proceedings. He is a licensed structural engineer in Illinois.

His numerous awards and honors include ACI Wason Medal (jointly with N. M. Newmark) for most meritorious paper, 1949; C.R.S.I. Award, 1957; ASCE Research Prize, 1956; and the R. C. Reese Award, 1956 and again in 1970; ACI Turner Medal, 1964; elected to the National Academy of Boase Award, 1975; University of Illinois College of Engineering Alumni Honor Award for Distinguished Service in Engineering, 1985; and Nuclear Regulatory Commission Distinguished Service Award, 1987.

His some twenty awards and honors include: O. P. Pennock, distinguished Service Award for Service and Teaching, 1960; Sigma Xi honor Scientist, 1966; Engineering Dean’s Council Award for Academic Excellence, 1983; and Distinguished Service Award, 1985; ASME Distinguished Lecturer, 1986; ASEE Senior Research Award, 1987; and Engineering Dean’s Council Award of Excellence in Engineering Science, 1988-89. He is a member of seven honor societies: Kappa Mu Epsilon (mathematics), Phi Kappa Phi, Scabbard and Blade, Sigma Xi, Sigma Pi Sigma, Tau Beta Pi, and Chi Epsilon.

His numerous awards and honors include: Texas Section, ASCE Award of Honor, 1985; Wilbur S. Smith ASCE Award in Highway Engineering, 1984; Honorary Doctor of Engineering Degree, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, 1980; Honorary Member, ASCE, 1979; Tasker H. Bliss Award, American Society of Military Engineers, 1974; Edmund Friedman Professional Recognition Award, ASCE, 1973; and Distinguished Service Award, Highway Research Board, 1967. He is listed in Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who in America, and Leaders in American Science.

Chester Siess was first elected to Chi Epsilon on April 30, 1968, at Louisiana State University, Chapter No. 67, as a Charter member, with a general number of 22,571 and a chapter number of 103. He was elevated to Chapter Honor Member by the University of Illinois, Chapter No. 1, chartered in 1922, on November 9, 1987, with a chapter number of 2000. The Supreme Council was privileged to elevate Chester P. Siess to be the 51st National Honor Member of Chi Epsilon on November 5, 1994, at the University of Illinois.

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