Leslie E. Robertson, the structural engineer responsible for the engineering design of the World Trade Center, delivered the keynote address at NJIT’s annual convocation honoring notable students and faculty.
Robertson, the principal and founder of Leslie E. Robertson Associates RLLP in New York City http://www.lera.com/index.htm, focused on the challenges and obligations facing today’s students. He examined how a university education allows students to become active in endeavors to enhance the way of life for all people. “Beyond the more philosophic thoughts,” he said, “people have concrete needs such as energy, housing and protection of freedoms. And it will be up to students to make a difference.”
A pioneer in the application of computers to design, Robertson has advanced the art and the science of structural engineering theory. His work on skyscrapers, domes, bridges and long-span roofs has transformed engineering theory into practical technological breakthroughs.
Beyond the New York City towers, Robertson is responsible for the structural design of hundreds of buildings and structures around the world, including Continental Arena (Meadowlands), United States Steel Headquarters (Pittsburgh), the Bank of China Tower (Hong Kong), Puerta de Europa (Madrid) and museums in Portland, Seattle, Berlin and Japan (Miho Museum Bridge). He has written more than 300 papers on structural, earthquake and wind engineering and has received patents in the U.S., Japan and Europe.
He has received the prestigious Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) award from the American Society of Civil Engineers for his lifetime achievements in the category of design. In addition, he received the 1993 Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology for his structural design of the World Trade Center that withstood the 1993 terrorist bombing; the World Trade Center Individual Exceptional Service Medal for his work in the reconstruction of the twin towers; the first Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction Technology; and the Gengo Matsui Prize. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in recognition of his expertise and contributions to the field of structural engineering and has received numerous honorary doctorates. He was recently named one of Engineering News Record’s “125 Top People of the Past 125 Years.”
Robertson is working with I.M. Pei on the Museum for Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, and the Macao Science Center in Macao, China. He also is working with Kohn Pedersen Fox on the Shanghai World Financial Center. With his innovations in structural engineering, he has set new standards in the design and construction of tall buildings.
For more information about the convocation and awards program, please visit http://www.njit.edu/about/boards/overseers/awards.php.