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09-30-1997

Clarkson University President Emeritus Richard H. Gallagher Passes Away

Gallagher received an honorary doctor of science degree at Clarkson University's 102nd Commencement in 1995. The degree was conferred for "his dedication and leadership as Clarkson University's fourteenth president, and for his wisdom, integrity and courage in guiding this institution during a period of demographic and economic challenge."

Richard H. Gallagher was instrumental in the early development of the finite element method, an engineering computation technique in wide use today. He also authored three texts and numerous papers in this field. As a result of his achievements in research and education, Gallagher was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1983.

Gallagher received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil engineering from New York University. In 1966 he received his Ph.D., also in civil engineering, from the State University of New York at Buffalo, which bestowed on him its Clifford C. Furnas Award in 1991.

Gallagher spent the first 17 years of his career in industry, principally with the Bell Aerosystems Company in Niagara Falls, New York. His efforts there were divided between the design of aircraft and aerospace structures, and the research and development of design methods. He joined Cornell University in 1967 as a professor of civil engineering and shortly thereafter was appointed chair of Cornell's Department of Structural Engineering. Subsequently, he served as dean of Engineering at the University of Arizona  (1978-84) and as provost at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (1984-88).

In April 1981 President and Mrs. Gallagher were guests of the Chinese government in a technical group of two Americans and one European-- one of the early technical groups to be invited to China. They held a conference in Hefei in which 500 Chinese students participated in the auditorium, and approximately 5,000 students participated by closed-circuit television.

The small group toured China for three weeks visiting Hefei, Shanghai and Beijing. They were hosted at a banquet in the Great Hall of the People by Fan Yi, the president of the Academy of Sciences for China and were on Chinese national TV. The group went up the Yangtze River and was hosted by the Mayor of Nanking at a Chinese opera and another banquet-- one of several during their stay.

In addition, Gallagher was the recipient of the 1985 Worcester Reed Warner Gold Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; the 1990 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Structural Dynamics and Materials Award; the highest honor of the American Society for Engineering Education, the 1990 Benjamin Garver Lamme Award; and the International Association for Computational Mechanics Medal, given in 1991.

Gallagher received honorary doctoral degrees from the Technical University of Vienna, from the University College of Swansea, Wales, and, in 1992, from Shanghai University of Technology, Shanghai, China.

Gallagher was the first American to be awarded an honorary doctorate by Shanghai University of Technology. About 2,400 faculty, staff, visiting dignitaries and Mrs. Terese Gallagher participated in the proceedings on the China campus. Shanghai University President Quian Weichang, a renowned Chinese scientist presided. President Gallagher was also notified that his choice as an honorary doctoral candidate was officially approved by the Central Government of China.

Richard H. Gallagher was one of 18 people inducted into the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Hall of Fame in June 1993. Gallagher was being honored for "his lasting impact on engineering and engineering technology education" and received the award during ASEE's Centennial Celebration. Only 22 other honorees before him were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Those 22 were inducted during ASEE's 75th anniversary in 1968.

Gallagher was also selected to receive an ASEE Centennial Medallion, which recognized "individuals who have had a significant and lasting impact on engineering education or engineering technology education, and whose professional activities affirm ASEE values." Gallagher was chosen to receive the medallion from educators nominated by ASEE committees, deans of engineering and deans of engineering technology.

In addition, Gallagher was also selected as a Fellow Member of the ASEE in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the Society. This grade of membership is awarded to "individuals with extraordinary qualifications and experience in engineering education, who have made particularly important contributions to the field."

Richard H. Gallagher received one of the highest honors of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the ASME Medal, on  December 1, 1993. The medal, for eminently distinguished engineering achievement, was awarded during ASME's winter meeting in New Orleans. Gallagher was honored with the medal for "his pioneering and sustained accomplishments in finite element theory and applications in engineering, science, and technology, and for his distinguished leadership in higher education."

Dr. Gallagher is survived by his wife Terese, four sons, Richard, William, Dennis, John, a daughter, Mary Lee Rodin and several grandchildren.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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