Academy of Distinguished Alumni

Franz N. Rad

Franz N. Rad

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 1973
M.S., University of Texas at Austin, 1969
B.S., University of Texas at Austin, 1968

A recognized leader, academician and researcher, Franz Rad is the Arthur M. James Professor of Structural Engineering at Portland State University (PSU), where he has served as Department Head for 23 years. During that time the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department expanded significantly in terms of faculty size, student enrollment, and research productivity. He also actively participated in pioneering research focused on earthquake-resistant structural engineering and forensic engineering that has been applied to practice.

While writing his dissertation at UT Austin, Rad taught a course at Portland State University and was recruited to a position as Assistant Professor in 1971. His main area of interest is earthquake-resistant structural engineering and forensic engineering. At PSU, he developed and taught16 different courses, including a popular graduate course in Forensic Structural Engineering.

He has taught or advised over two thousand students who have aspired to study civil engineering. He also received the first endowed professorship in the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science.

He served as a principal investigator for projects sponsored by NSF, FEMA, and PCI, and twice was named a Research Fellow by PCI, for pioneering research in connections. Research projects include conducting a survey of the seismic hazards for nearly 50,000 non-residential buildings in Portland and developing earthquake damage and loss estimation models for buildings.

Experimental research projects utilizing PSU’s Seismic Testing and Applied Research Laboratory include: behavior of grouted conduit connections under cyclic loading, capacity of J-bolts in masonry walls, and behavior of hollow clay walls retrofitted with fiber reinforced composites, under cyclic loading.

Rad has a keen interest in effective teaching, laboratory and program development. He was one of the earliest ASCE Student Chapter Advisors at PSU. In the early 1970’s, lab facilities and equipment were scarce so he had to be innovative, assembling home-made compression frames to test the student projects.