University of Waterloo Distinguished Professor Emeritus Ralph Haas Receives the University of Alberta’s Highest Honor, Doctor of Science, honoris causa, June 13, 2018 Convocation.
Ralph Haas is known in the engineering world as “the father of pavement asset management.” His pioneering concepts and technologies have resulted in better-performing, safer and less costly road networks. The author of 12 books and numerous technical articles on pavement and infrastructure asset management, he is also an educator whose students have become leaders in transportation agencies, consultancies and universities. Haas is a member of the Order of Canada, fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee medals, and U of A Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. Ralph Haas received an honorary doctor of science degree June 13 at 10 a.m.
Ralph Haas’ career as an educator, researcher and practitioner spans five decades. He is the author or co‑author of leading books on pavement and infrastructure management, as well as 500 technical publications. His pioneering concepts and technologies have been implemented around the world resulting in new, better practices and major cost savings.
Dr. Haas holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Alberta and a PhD in civil engineering from the University of Waterloo. His major research areas include civil infrastructure asset management, highway and pavement economic analysis, design of pavements against fatigue, permanent deformation and thermal cracking damage, as well as behaviour of facilities on permafrost soils. As the Norman W. McLeod Engineering Professor and Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Waterloo, and a 2014 recipient of the University of Alberta Distinguished Alumnus Award, he has had a lifelong commitment to excellence in teaching, research, and professional practice. He encourages his students and colleagues to realize their potential and maximize their professional and societal contributions.
Ralph Haas is the inaugural Director and Founder of the Centre for Pavement and Transportation Technology at the University of Waterloo and a former chair of the Department of Civil Engineering. His professional service includes roles as past chair of the Pavement Management Committees of the Transportation Research Board and the Transportation Association of Canada, past director of the Applied Science and Engineering Division of Academy III of the Royal Society of Canada, and co‑founder of the Transportation Association of Canada Foundation.
A Member of the Order of Canada, Dr. Haas is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, the Engineering Institute of Canada, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering. In 2002 he received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and in 2012 the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. The University of Waterloo officially named “The Ralph Haas Infrastructure and Sensing Analysis Laboratory” in his honour in 2014. That same year he received the US National Academies Transportation Research Board’s highest honour, the Roy W. Crum Award for Outstanding Achievement in Transportation Research.
Dr. Haas' personal life includes a passion for long distance running. He has completed many 10K, marathon, and ultra marathon races in North America and abroad ranging from the Midnight Sun on Baffin Island to Comrades in South Africa.
(Ralph Haas' address to Convocation is available on the University of Alberta’s website)
The University of Alberta Senate is donating the following volume to the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library to commemorate the awarding of an honorary degree to Dr. Ralph Haas:
Q. A. Gillmore. A Practical Treatise on Roads, Streets, and Pavements. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1876.
In the book's preface, the author advises readers that he had three objectives in mind for his text. Firstly, "To give, within the compass of one small volume, such descriptions of the various methods of locating country roads, and of constructing the road and street coverings in more or less common use at the present day, as will render the essential details of those methods, as well as certain improvements thereon of which many of them are believed to be susceptible, familiar to any non-professional reader". Secondly, "To make such practical suggestions with respect to the selection and application of materials, more especially those, with the properties and uses of which builders are presumed to be the least acquainted as seem needful in order to develop their greatest practical worth, and realize their greatest endurance". Finally, "To institute a just and discriminating comparison of the respective merits of the several street pavements now competing for popular recognition and favor, under the varying conditions of traffic, climate, and locality, to which they are commonly subjected" This copy of an influential text on streets and street pavements is beautifully bound in brown decorative cloth with gilt lettering on the spine.