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Graduate Fellowships and Awards

Graduate students make essential contributions to our department’s teaching and research. Below you will find information on retired faculty and others for whom endowed graduate fellowships and awards have been established.

Individuals may contribute to one of the existing graduate fellowship enhancements and awards using the following links:

All gifts will be matched one-to-one while funds are available. Please contact Michael Auchter ( if you would like more information and are interested in contributing to this initiative.

Graduate Fellowship Enhancements

Professor Robert C. Borden*

Bob Borden, P.E., and Ph.D., joined NC State as an assistant professor in 1986 and rose to the rank of professor before retiring in 2013.  Before joining the university, he worked in local government and private practice. He is a diplomate of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers. During his 27 years at NC State, Borden taught courses in hydraulics, hydrology, groundwater hydraulics, groundwater contaminant transport, and senior design courses in water resources and environmental engineering. He served as primary advisor and mentor to 51 master’s, 14 Ph.D., and three post-doctoral students at NC State.

Read full bio.

Dr. E. Downey Brill Jr.*

Downey Brill completed his undergraduate degree at Cornell University and earned a Ph.D. in environmental engineering at Johns Hopkins. He started his academic career at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he rose to the rank of professor in 1982. He joined NC State as the civil engineering department head in 1988, serving in the role until 2005. He also served as director of the Center for Transportation and the Environment from 2005-16 and interim director of the Institute for Transportation Research and Education from 2016-18 before retiring in 2019. Brill has been a member of NC State’s operations research faculty since 2002. He has more than four decades of experience in carrying out and leading interdisciplinary work. His core research expertise is in the development of optimization models and their application to civil and environmental engineering systems. He has applied his system analysis methods to several domains including air and water-quality management, solid waste, floodplain land use planning, and water distribution systems. 

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Dr. Jon C. Liebman *

Following an undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado, five years of service in the U.S. Navy, and graduate degrees from Cornell University, Jon Liebman served on the faculty at Johns Hopkins University and then at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign until 1996, where he was head of the Department of Civil Engineering from 1978-84.  He received prestigious education awards for both superb classroom teaching and pioneering educational innovations. His decades-long research defined and developed the field of environmental systems analysis; his work featured scholarship at the highest level along with a strong graduate education component. His former Ph.D. students include successful professionals faculty and administrators at universities around the world. As a leader and mentor, perhaps his greatest attribute is his well-developed sense of what an academic institution should be and how to maintain and improve it as decisions are made and policies and procedures are developed. As department head, he demonstrated a collegial style of leadership that allows the potential of a broad range of faculty to be realized. His career as an educator, researcher, and administrator is not only extraordinarily distinguished but also a model for others.

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Dr. James Nau *

James Nau, Ph.D., joined NC State as an assistant professor in 1982 and rose to the rank of professor in 2000 and earned professor emeritus status before retiring in 2022. During his 40 years at NC State, he taught numerous courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels including statics, solid mechanics, reinforced concrete design, structural steel design, and the senior design project course. Nau won countless awards and accolades for his teaching, including the AT&T Foundation Award for Excellence in Instruction of Engineering Students; the NC State Outstanding Teacher Award; George K. Wadlin Distinguished Service Award, Civil Engineering Division, from the American Society for Engineering Education; the Chi Epsilon Excellence in Teaching Award for the Cumberland District; and NC State’s Alumni Association’s Alumni Distinguished Professor award. Working with Dr. Mervyn Kowalsky and other CCEE faculty members, Nau’s research is mainly in the area of earthquake engineering. Over the years, he has been engaged in research projects on the seismic response, repair, and durability of steel and concrete bridge components. This research, supported by the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities, involves material and large-scale experimentation at the Constructed Facilities Lab. Nau’s research interests include various means of structural repair of earthquake-damaged components and systems.

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Harvey E. and Margaret W. Wahls*

After earning a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. at Northwestern University (where he also met Margy), Harvey Wahls served on the faculty at NC State for 37 years, leading the graduate program for 26 years and serving as associate head for Graduate Programs for 13 years until retiring in 1997. Wahls also provided university-wide leadership through service to the College of Engineering and Graduate School. As a geotechnical engineering teacher, his courses included a sequence of graduate courses that served as a foundation for generations of practitioners and researchers, and he was recognized by several awards, including being selected for the NC State Academy of Outstanding Teachers. His research in geotechnical engineering, including investigations of the behavior of compacted soils, consolidation, and soil dynamics, also provided opportunities for numerous Ph.D. and M.S. students who went on to have major impacts in practice, professional societies, and academia.  

Read full bio.

*eligible for matching

Other Graduate Awards

David Johnston Graduate Award in Construction Engineering and Management   (661853)

Dr. David Johnston established this award to recognize excellence in a graduate student studying Construction Engineering.  

 David Johnston holds a unique position in that all of his degrees are from NC State CCEE (BSCE with Construction Option 1966, MSCE 1968, Ph.D. 1972), and he was a faculty member from 1977 to 2010. He provided leadership for the construction engineering program for four decades, including preparing for ABET-EAC accreditation of the B.S. program. He served as associate head and director of Graduate Programs for a ten-year period that featured significant department-wide growth in graduate enrollment.

Johnson’s research has had major impacts on engineering practice and national standards in bridge management systems, highway systems, and concrete formwork. He is the author of the 8th edition of the heavily used ACI SP-4 Formwork for Concrete published in 2014.

Johnston’s career awards are many, including the ASCE Roebling Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the advancement of construction engineering. In 2019 he received the Distinguished Examination Service Award from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). He was inducted into the National Academy of Construction in 2015.

Johnston has held leadership roles in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the American Concrete Institute (ACI). He led the 10-year effort to have Construction Engineering recognized by the NCEES and state engineering licensing boards as a discipline for the Professional Engineering exam.  He provided tremendous leadership in the design and move to our new home, Fitts-Woolard Hall.

Charles Smallwood Endowment (672414)

The Charles Smallwood Endowment was established to support students with a preference for those involved in water resources and/or water quality management. Charles Smallwood received his M.S. in civil engineering from Harvard in 1948. He became an assistant professor at N.C. State in 1950 and was promoted to associate professor of civil engineering in 1955. Smallwood was appointed professor and graduate administrator in 1960. He was a specialist in water pollution control. Smallwood received a Fulbright Award to teach industrial waste management at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Smallwood retired from NC State in 1985 and received emeritus status.

Bruce Edward Matthews Graduate Scholarship in Transportation Engineering (662623)

Bruce Edward Matthews was born in Raleigh on November 14, 1946. He was educated in the Raleigh Public School System and attended Cary High School in his freshman year and then Needham Broughton High School in Raleigh through his senior year, graduating in 1964.  He enrolled at NC State, where he received a BA in political science and economics in 1969, a master’s in public administration in 1970, and a master’s in civil engineering with a focus in transportation in 1973. After a year as a consultant analyzing commercial airline service in North Carolina in conjunction with the State Airport System Planning study, Bruce joined the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) as a transportation planner in 1974. He was later hired as the first full-time staff member of the NCDOT’s new Division of Aviation as an airport development specialist.  In January 1985, he was promoted to manager of Airport Development in the Division of Aviation and continued in that role until his untimely death on March 17, 2000, following complications from a brief illness.  During his tenure in that capacity, he authored the first “North Carolina Airport Officials Guide” to assist airport governing body board members and staff in familiarizing themselves with and better understanding the many aspects of developing, operating, and maintaining the facilities for which they are responsible. Bruce held a private pilot’s certificate and was designated as a certified public manager. He was an active member of many associations and committees that dealt with airport management and development, including the North Carolina Airports Association. In 1989, he became an adjunct faculty member in co-teaching the course Airport Planning and Design at NC State’s Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering until his death.

Throughout his aviation career, Bruce had a servant’s focus and mentality; if anyone needed help he could provide at any time, he did not hesitate to do so. He believed that education allowed one to obtain knowledge that, in company with experience gained in applying that knowledge, must be employed to better society and the infrastructure that is developed to serve it. Because of the welcomed assistance and counsel, he so often provided at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) and the professionalism he always displayed, the RDU Airport Authority dedicated its new General Aviation Terminal in memory of Bruce on December 17, 2003, the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. 

“Because of the friendship and strong working relationship Bruce and I had, my wife, Marilyn, and I established and funded the Bruce Edward Matthews Graduate Scholarship in Transportation Engineering in November 2012,” said John Brantley, who served as CEO of RDU from 1982 until his retirement in 2011 and is a member of the CCEE Hall of Fame. “Though he’s been gone for more than 22 years now, Bruce remains a legend in airport circles in North Carolina for always striving to improve the safety, security, and facilities of the airports throughout the state that serve the flying public.”

Paul Zia Education Fund (662694) and (662700)

The Paul Zia education fund provides support for graduate students studying structural engineering and mechanics.

Dr. Paul Zia is a Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering and Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor Emeritus. He has been engaged in teaching, research, and consulting in many areas of concrete materials, reinforced and prestressed concrete structures, and construction for more than 50 years. He has advised more than 60 master’s and doctoral students. He has conducted sponsored research on many aspects of prestressed and reinforced concrete, including torsion and shear, bond and development length, loss of prestress, applications of high performance and high strength concrete, self-consolidating concrete, jointless bridge deck, and cracking in large prestressed concrete girders. His studies also included fatigue strength of cracked prestressed concrete girders, assessment of high-performance concrete bridges, development of a non-destructive test method for measuring air permeability of concrete, the use of self-consolidating concrete in highway structures, and application of corrosion-resistant high-strength MMFX steel for concrete structures, and structural applications of new proprietary materials called Grancrete and Elimix Admixture.

Dr. Zia is a registered professional engineer in North Carolina and an honorary member of both the American Concrete Institute (ACI) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), as well as a Fellow of the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI). He has served as chairman and member of many technical and administrative committees of these organizations, including a term as president of ACI in 1989-1990.

For his achievements in teaching, research, and professional activities, Dr. Zia has received numerous honors and awards including election to the prestigious National Academy of Engineering (1983); NCSU Alcoa Foundation Distinguished Engineering Research Award (1978-80); University of Florida Distinguished Alumnus Award (1983); ASEE Lamme Medal (1986); and NCSU Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal of Excellence (1993), the highest honor bestowed on a faculty member by the NCSU Board of Trustees. In 1999, the National Park Service presented him with the Citizen’s Award for Exceptional Service in recognition of his role as an adviser and consultant for the relocation of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. In 2004, he was honored by PCI with the Distinguished Educator of the Year Award.