William J. Hall


William J. Hall

Educator – Researcher – Earthquake Engineer – Author

Teaching – Research – Consulting – Pipelines – Professional Organizations

Fifty-fourth National Honor Member Nominated by the University Illinois Chapter

William J. Hall, Professor Emeritus of civil engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been a member of that faculty since 1954. He was born on April 13, 1926, in Berkeley, California. After attending the University of California at Berkeley in 1943-44, he entered the U.S. Merchant Marine Cadet Corps, and served in the Pacific War Zone and at Kings Point, N. Y., until 1945. He then enrolled as a student at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, from which he received the degree of bachelor of science in civil engineering in 1948.

In 1948, he began his professional career as an engineer in the field and operations sections of the Sohio Pipe Line Company. One year later, he enrolled as a graduate student in the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, from which he received and M.S. in civil engineering in 1951 and a Ph.D. in engineering (civil) in 1954. He served on the faculty of the Department of Civil Engineering from 1954 until his retirement in 1993. He served as head of the department from 1984 until 1991. He was recalled from retirement to serve as Interim Director of the Research and Technology Management Office of the Urbana-Champaign campus during 1997.

As a member of the civil engineering faculty of the University of Illinois, Dr. Hall was deeply committed to teaching, not only in the classical classroom sense, but also in the training of some 120 graduate students, 30 of whom have received their doctorates under his direction. To this end, throughout his career, he has conducted extensive research in the general areas of structural engineering, structural mechanics, brittle fracture, and materials. The results of these research studies have been presented to the profession through more than 200 formal publications in the general technical literature (books, chapters in books, and journal articles), and over 150 major consulting reports, many of which are of public record and wide distribution.

Clear recognition of the extensive contributions that have been made by Professor Hall is shown through the many honors and awards that have been accorded him by his colleagues in the profession. Especially significant among these awards were his elections to the National Academy of Engineering in 1968 at the age of 42 and as an Honorary Member of ASCE in 1987. Additional awards from ASCE include the Walter L Huber Research Award (1963), the Newmark Medal (1984), and the Earnest E. Howard Award (1984). He also received from ASCE the first C. Martin Duke Award by the Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering (1991) and the Norman Medal (1992). Additionally, he received the Adams Memorial Membership Award of the American Welding Society (1967) and the John Parmer Award from the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois (1990). Most recently, he received the Housner Award from EERI in 1998.

Dr. Hall has served as a consultant to a large number of governmental agencies and laboratories, including the Defense Nuclear Agency, and other offices of the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Air Force, as well as to numerous industrial organizations. He has been a major contributor to the development of seismic design criteria for structures and equipment; as a consultant to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and, later, to its successor, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, he was involved in the review of the designs of some 70 nuclear power plants in the United States for their adequacy under seismic loadings. He played a major role in development of the seismic design criteria for the DOE uranium hexafluroide gas certrifuge plant.

In 1982, Dr. Hall served as a member of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Closely Spaced Basing for MX, reporting to the USDRE and The Secretary of Defense. From 1990 until 1992, he served as one of three members appointed by the Governor of Illinois to the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility Siting Commission to review the proposed Martinsville, Illinois site.

He has been a principal consultant since 1970 to date on the Trans-Alaska petroleum pipeline, and during 1990-93, he was a consultant to the Yukon Pacific Corporation (CSX) on the proposed Trans-Alaska gas pipeline and LNG facility. Since 1989, he has been consultant to the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. He currently chairs the SAC Project Oversight Committee on the national steel design research project sponsored by FEMA, arising out of the 1994 Northridge, CA, earthquake.

Throughout his career, Dr. Hall has contributed to the profession through his active participation in and support of the numerous technical and professional societies. Principal among these organizations at the American Society of Civil Engineers, in which he has served as member and/or chairman of numerous committees and commissions; the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, and the International Institute of Welding. He also holds, or has held, membership in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (Fellow); the American Concrete Institute; the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; the American Welding Society; the American Society for Engineering Education; the Seismological Society of American; the American Society for Testing and Materials; the Society for Experimental Stress Analysis; the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering; the National Society of Professional Engineers; the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers; and the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois.

William Joel Hall was first elected to Chi Epsilon as a Chapter Honor Member on May 20, 1969, at the University of Illinois, Chapter No. 1, chartered in 1922, with a general number of 24,520 and a chapter number of 1116. The Supreme Council was privileged to elevate William J. Hall to be the 54th National Honor Member of Chi Epsilon on March 21, 1998.

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