George R. Rich


George R. Rich

Consulting Engineer – Hydraulic Engineer – Educator – Author

Electrical Energy – Pump Storage Systems – Canals and Locks – Railroad Electrification

Thirty-third National Honor Member Nominated by the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Chapter

Through a career of more than 50 years, George R. Rich became an eminent hydraulic engineer with a varied professional experience. He was vice-president of Charles T. Main, Inc., and a partner, Uhl, Hall & Rich, consulting engineers of Boston, Massachusetts, at the time of his elevation to National Honor Member. Since 1945, George Rich brought his talents and energy to the dual organizations of Charles T. Main, Inc., and Uhl, Hall & Rich.

A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Dr. Rich attended Worcester North High School from 1911 to 1915 and was graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1919 with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering. In 1948, he was honored by that institution with an honorary doctor of engineering degree and earned the professional degree of civil engineer there in 1955, writing a thesis entitled “The Niagara Power Development”. George R. Rich was born on November 3, 1896, of Jerome Turner Rich and Josephine Agnes Breen Rich in Worcester, Massachusetts.

His 55-year career in the field of hydraulic engineering has included service with the firms of Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation during three separate periods starting in 1919 and again in 1925 and 1929, and McClellan and Junkersfeld, and Jackson and Moreland from 1922 to 1925 and from 1928 to 1929. He has served as a hydraulic engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and as chief design engineer of the Tennessee Valley Authority from 1937 to 1945. His designs have included such notable works as the Conowingo Hydroelectric Project, Fort Peck Project, Passamaquoddy Tidal Power Project, Cape Cod Ship Canal and Locks, the Breakneck Pumped Storage Project, Cornwall Pumped Storage Project, and Robert Moses Power Plant of the Niagara Power Project, and Robert Moses Power Dam of the St. Lawrence Power Project. He was a licensed professional engineer in 32 states. Dr. Rich started his career as a structural designer on hydroelectric, steam, and industrial projects.

Dr. Rich was a lecturer in hydraulic engineering at Columbia University in the graduate program from 1948 to 1953, and was the Gordon McKay Visiting Lecturer in civil engineering at Harvard University from 1957 to 1959. He is the author of the book “Hydraulic Transients” (McGraw-Hill and Dover Publications) and has contributed extensively to the Handbook of Applied Hydraulics (McGraw-Hill). In addition, he has authored numerous technical papers in such journals as Military Engineer, Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Journal of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers, and Journal of the New England Water Works Association. Also, George Rich has made numerous talks before various professional societies.

Dr. Rich became a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1922, and later a fellow and life member. In 1964, he was appointed to the Power Division’s Committee on Pumped Storage. He is also a fellow and honorary member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and has participated on a number of committees in that organization. In 1957, he became a member of the American Institute of Consulting Engineers and served as president of the Northeastern chapter in 1968. He has also served on the John R. Freeman Fund Committee of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers, a society he held membership in from 1945.

Dr. Rich has represented this country as a member of the U.S. National Committee of the International Commission of Irrigation and Drainage and a member of the U.S. Committee of the International Commission on Large Dams. Having been interested in engineering education for many years, Dr. Rich had served on the Civil Engineering Department visiting committee at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and on the advisory committee to the Alden Hydraulic Laboratory of Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

He was honored by the Boston Society of Civil Engineers with honorary member in 1973 and with the Hydraulic Section Prize in 1948 and with the Clemens Herschel Award in 1951 for his paper “The Hudson River Emergency Pumping Plant of the City of New York”. The American Society of Civil Engineers awarded him the Rickey Medal in 1968. On February 21, 1974, Dr. Rich was awarded the New England Award for 1973 by the Engineering Societies of New England, Inc. George R. Rich served his country in numerous ways, starting in 1918, when he was part of the Naval Reserve during World War I.

Dr. Rich was first initiated into Chi Epsilon as a Chapter Honor Member of the Worcester Polytechnic Instutute in 1967. He was also a member of Sigma Xi and Tau Beta Pi. The Supreme Council of Chi Epsilon elevated Dr. George R. Rich as its 33rd National Honor Member on March 13, 1970, at the University of Michigan during the 21st National Conclave.

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