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CEE's Jerry Rogers Retires

By: 

Esmeralda Fisher

Jerry Rogers joined the UH department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as an associate professor in 1970. Since then, he has led an illustrious career in the practice and teaching of civil engineering, particularly, environmental and water resources engineering.

On Friday, May 3, Rogers’ friends, colleagues, former students and family gathered at the University of Houston to honor his legacy of achievements marked by leadership and service.

And there are many. Over the decades, Rogers has amassed a long list of designations and awards that underscore a high level of professional contribution. The partial list includes the 1974 Texas Young Engineer of the Year Award from the Texas Society of Professional Engineers San Jacinto Chapter; the 1996 Engineer of the Year Award from the Texas Society of Professional Engineers and Engineers Council of Houston; and the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Environmental and Water Resources Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Rogers has served as the co-chair of the National ASCE Student Conference in Houston, and was president of the Engineers Council of Houston. He was honored for his outstanding concurrent service as faculty advisor to four UH student organizations, ASCE, Omicron Delta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi, and Theta Tau.

Rogers has served as president of the ASCE Houston Branch, president of the ASCE Texas Section, and national president of the American Water Resources Association (AWRA).

But the accomplishments don’t end there. Rogers has participated in funded UH research contracts from NASA, Harris County Flood Control District, City of Houston, City of Conroe, City of Pearland, and U.S. Community Service.

He has graduated four Ph.D. students and has advised 21 MSCE thesis-track graduate students from 1974-2003, with several other MSCE and MCE students to 2012.

From 1971 to 2001, Rogers has authored or co-authored 60 papers and publications, has given 49 research presentations from 1968 to 1991, and has given 26 invited seminar presentations.

At the reception, colleagues shared stories of Rogers’ renown. Professor Cumaraswamy Vipulanandan spoke about meeting a welcoming and enthusiastic Rogers circa 1984. “I walked into his office, and books were stacked up high. Jerry said ‘I’m also a Northwestern graduate!’ and we started talking.”

Vipulanandan noted that Rogers is a bit of a celebrity in the civil engineering world. “Whenever I go to meetings and people learn I’m from the University of Houston, they immediately ask, ‘Jerry’s there too, right?’ So now when I register for ASCE events, I have replaced my name with ‘Jerry’s friend from UH,’” he added in jest.

Stuart Long, a professor in electrical and computer engineering, revealed that he was introduced to the “NBA” by Rogers when he first came to UH – that is, the Noontime Basketball Association. “I became a sometime teammate and sometime opponent of Jerry’s during pickup games every day at lunch, and that tradition has continued for 45 years,” Long said. “While his teammates were rank amateurs, Jerry had played varsity basketball in college. We took notes from Jerry.”

Rogers’ impact on teaching and the profession has reached not only across the state of Texas, but nationwide. He has set the bar high for his colleagues and students alike.

Although retiring, Rogers isn’t finished working. Next year, Rogers will co-edit the ASCE Panama Canal Centennial (1914-2014) History and the AWRA 50th Anniversary (1964-2014) History. He is also completing a history of the UH department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Rogers received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of Arkansas in 1963 and 1964, respectively, and a Ph.D. in civil engineering/water resources from Northwestern University in 1970.

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