Emeritus professor Anestis Veletsos dies

Influential civil and environmental engineer taught at Rice for 45 years

By Patrick Kurp
Special to the Rice News

Anestis “Andy” Veletsos, a Rice University faculty member for 45 years who conducted influential research in structural dynamics and earthquake engineering, died Oct. 25 in Houston at age 91.

Anestis Veletsos

Anestis Veletsos

Veletsos was the Brown and Root Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice. He was a distinguished adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Houston from 2010 to 2013.

“A handful of people have transformed the field of earthquake engineering over the past century,” said Reginald DesRoches, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering and a professor of civil and environmental engineering and of mechanical engineering. “Andy was certainly one of them, a true giant in the field.”

Veletsos was born to Greek parents in Istanbul in 1927. He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Robert College in Istanbul and a master’s and Ph.D. in the same field from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he taught until 1964.

Veletsos was a Rice faculty member from 1964 to 2009, served as department chair from 1964 to 1972 and published more than 140 papers. His influential research spanned structural dynamics and methods of dynamic analysis, earthquake engineering (elastic and inelastic response spectra), dynamic stiffness of foundations and seismic soil structure interaction.

“Andy was a great teacher and world-renowned researcher who made outstanding contributions to earthquake engineering,” said Satish Nagarajaiah, a Rice professor of civil and environmental engineering and of mechanical engineering. “He will be remembered for his intuitive and unmatched teaching style. He will be missed by many friends and colleagues at Rice.”

Veletsos was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1979. He was a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and recipient of two of its most coveted awards, the Norman Medal and the Ernest E. Howard Award. He also received the George W. Housner Medal from the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, among many other awards.

He is survived by his wife, Katherine; daughters Ann Marie and Melinda (Vieser); son-in-law Jaime Vieser; four grandchildren, Katherine, Alexandra, Bella and Will; and sister-in-law Rula Zografos. Details on services are available on the George R. Brown School of Engineering website.

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