By Wileen Wong Kromhout

The UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has announced the establishment of the Richard G. Newman AECOM Endowed Chair in Civil Engineering, made possible by a $1.5 million gift from members of AECOM’s executive team.

The chair was established in recognition of Newman’s leadership and service to AECOM, a global provider of professional technical and management-support services. Newman was the company’s chairman for more than two decades and its CEO until 2005.

The new endowed chair will support the research, teaching and public service of a distinguished faculty member in the school’s department of civil and environmental engineering and will fund research projects that can translate into enhanced training opportunities for engineering students and fellows. The chair also serves as the basis for a lasting partnership between AECOM and UCLA Engineering, as well as the university as a whole.

“We are extremely grateful to AECOM for their generous support,” said Vijay K. Dhir, dean of UCLA Engineering. “With this endowment, the chair-holder will continue to push the boundaries of technological innovation, use skills and knowledge for the greater benefit of society, and mentor the next generation of engineers, much like Mr. Newman has during his career.”

AECOM is one of the largest and most respected firms of its kind. Since its launch as an independent company in 1990, Newman led the firm’s worldwide expansion and oversaw its transformation into a multifaceted corporation that offers services ranging from financing, strategizing and planning to procurement, design, construction management and operations.

“I am both humbled and honored by this recognition,” Newman said. “What is most gratifying to me, however, is that AECOM and the Samueli School have further strengthened their partnership to ensure the future success of our industry by fostering a creative, challenging and innovative technical learning environment for the engineers of tomorrow.”

Newman is also a director of Southwest Water Co. and Sempra Energy. Previously, he was president of Ashland Technology Corp. and DMJM, an architecture, engineering and construction services firm.

A member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Institute for Advanced Engineering and the National Society of Professional Engineers, Newman is a graduate of the executive management program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and holds degrees in civil engineering from Bucknell University and Columbia University.

“We are proud to support UCLA, an institution that plays a crucial role in creating tomorrow’s industry leaders, by honoring a true industry visionary in Dick Newman,” said John M. Dionisio, president and CEO of AECOM. “UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science serves as a vital gateway to the future of our profession — and we look forward to partnering with UCLA through this chair.”

This endowed chair is part of UCLA Engineering’s Enhancing Engineering Excellence (E3) initiative, a $100 million fundraising effort aimed at generating new endowed faculty chairs, graduate fellowships and undergraduate scholarships, as well as funds for capital projects and diversity initiatives. It is also part of UCLA’s Ensuring Academic Excellence initiative, an effort aimed at generating $250 million in private commitments, specifically for the recruitment and retention of the very best faculty and graduate students. The initiative was launched in June 2004 and its goals include $100 million to fund 100 new endowed chairs for faculty across campus.

Main Image: John M. Dionisio, President and CEO of AECOM; Richard G. Newman, Chairman of AECOM; Dean Dhir.