Feature Stories

More than 100 years ago, our department started with only two faculty and a small but dedicated group of students. Today, we are one of the largest, most extensive civil engineering departments in the nation, with more than 10,000 living alumni, over 1,000 students, and over 60 faculty members. Even though we are top ranking and large in size and stature, we make it a priority to connect with our students and to foster a sense of community.

These stories illustrate both why our graduates are sought out by industry, government, and academia and why our research programs continue to improve the quality of life for many.

When Bill Espey studied Waller Creek as part of his dissertation (“A Study of Some Effects of Urbanization on Storm Runoff From a Small Watershed”), he never imagined that almost half a century later he would be leading a $144 million Waller Creek Tunnel project to divert flood waters from downtown Austin.

Jorge Zornberg has dedicated over 25 years to the advancement of geosynthetics through his professional practice as a design engineer, a professor, a researcher, and now as president of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS), a non-profit organization founded in 1983.

Eric Williamson was at the dentist having his teeth cleaned when the first plane hit the World Trade Center.

Traffic accidents are a leading cause of fatalities worldwide, accounting for 1.3 million deaths annually.

In 1985, because of his research in freight systems and surface transportation engineering, Professor Michael Walton was asked to help bring together officials from trucking companies and government agencies. The two were in the midst of a heated debate over proposed plans to charge freights based on their weight and distance traveled.