William F. Marcuson III


William F. Marcuson III

Geotechnical Engineer – Author

In situ Testing – Soil Dynamics – Seismic Design

Sixty-third National Honor Member Elevated by Chi Epsilon at the University of Utah on March 15, 2014

W. F. Marcuson III was born on June 16, 1941 in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Dr. Marcuson was initiated into Chi Epsilon at Michigan State University in 1964. He received a B.S. from the Citadel, an M.S. from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University, all in civil engineering.

He joined the staff of the U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station in 1970 and was director of the geotechnical laboratory from 1981 until his retirement in 2000. Marcuson was responsible for research, development, and analytical studies from both the theoretical and practical viewpoints in the fields of soil mechanics, engineering geology, rock mechanics, earthquake engineering, geophysics, military pavements, and Army mobility. His work responded to problems inherent in dam and levee design and structures; drainage design and construction; design, construction, evaluation, maintenance, and rehabilitation of both permanent and expedient military pavement systems; combat engineering and theater of operations construction; soil stabilization; and other related physical sciences. Marcuson worked in the United States and overseas as required by the activities of the Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Army, and other agencies.

Marcuson’s research activities focused on experimental and analytical studies of soil behavior related to geotechnical problems, seismic design and analysis of embankment dams and seismically induced liquefaction of soils. Much of his research has been on the application of work in these areas to remediation of sites susceptible to failure during earthquakes. He has authored more than 100 publications including several state-of-the-art publications on in situ testing and sampling, soil dynamics, seismic design and analyses of embankment dams, and seismic rehabilitation of earth dams. Marcuson serves as a consultant on geotechnical problems and projects of many types, especially those involving seismic remediation, to numerous governmental and private organizations both nationally and internationally.

He is a licensed professional engineer in Mississippi and Louisiana and a chartered engineer in the United Kingdom. He is a member of a number of professional and technical societies and is most active in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Marcuson is an Honorary Member and Fellow of the ASCE. Marcuson has served ASCE in many capacities: secretary, vice chair, and chair of the Geotechnical Engineering Division; chair of the Committee on Soil Dynamics and the Committee on Publications; president of the Mississippi Section; District 14 representative on the Board of Direction; Zone II vice president and 2007 president. Additionally, he served as chair of the United States National Committee for the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) as well as their Committee on Publications.

Marcuson’s contributions and leadership have been widely recognized. For example, he received the Walter L. Huber Research Prize, the Government Civil Engineer of the Year, and the Norman Medal, all from ASCE; the Federal Government Engineer of the Year from the National Society of Professional Engineers; the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive from the Federal Government; and the Silver de Fleury Medal from the Army Engineer Association. He is the only engineer to be named the Corps of Engineers’ Engineer of the Year twice (1981 and 1995) and the Corps recognized him as Civilian of the Year in 1997. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1996 and delivered ASCE’s Karl Terzaghi Lecture in 1999.

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