Christopher L. Meehan, associate professor at the University of Delaware, has been named the Bentley Systems Incorporated Chair of Civil Engineering.

Named chair

Meehan named Bentley Systems Incorporated Chair of Civil Engineering

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9:44 a.m., Sept. 7, 2012--Christopher L. Meehan, associate professor at the University of Delaware, has been named the Bentley Systems Incorporated Chair of Civil Engineering.

This term chair is funded through a generous gift from Bentley Systems, Inc., an Exton, Pa., software firm founded in 1984 by brothers Keith Bentley, a 1980 UD graduate with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, and Barry Bentley, a 1978 UD graduate with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.

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The named chair will strengthen the geotechnical engineering program within the department and may rotate periodically to subsequent faculty.

At UD, Meehan has developed a nationally recognized research program in geotechnical engineering, which entails solving problems involving soils and rock.

He is currently studying the use of geothermal energy techniques for reducing energy consumption in the built environment as a 2012 Fulbright Scholar at Tampere University of Technology in Finland. 

In 2009, Meehan received the National Science Foundation’s prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award to study the seismic behavior of slickensided surfaces. This project furthers understanding of the behavior of clay soils during earthquakes, and gives guidance to designers who are looking to prevent earthquake-triggered landslides in clay-like soils.

“This is an important and timely gift that will have lasting impact in the department and that will help increase visibility for our programs,” remarked Harry (Tripp) Shenton, III, chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

In addition, Bentley Systems has designated UD as a “benchmark university,” and as such, the company will make its entire portfolio of over 300 software products available free-of-charge to UD faculty and students for educational and research purposes. Michael J. Chajes, professor of civil and environmental engineering, will coordinate that effort at UD.

The Bentleys and Bentley Systems have long been advocates for encouraging young people to pursue engineering careers. The Bentley brothers are both members of the UD College of Engineering Advisory Council and are major supporters of the UD chapter of Engineers Without Borders. Bentley Systems, Inc., makes available numerous annual science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) grants throughout the world and is a foundation member of National Engineers Week. 

“As a company focused on software for engineers, and as engineers and graduates of UD,” Keith Bentley said, “we wanted to do something significant to help the University recruit and retain talented faculty dedicated to training the next generation of engineers. We are thrilled to create a named chair in civil and environmental engineering and even more thrilled that it will be filled by Dr. Meehan.”

About the professor

Christopher L. Meehan joined the UD faculty in 2006 as an assistant professor after earning his bachelor's degree at the University of New Hampshire and master's and doctoral degrees at Virginia Tech. He was promoted to associate professor in 2012.

Meehan received the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) ExCEEd New Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award for his innovative and engaging teaching style in 2012. He is also a member of the United States Universities Council on Geotechnical Education and Research (USUCGER) board of directors.

About Bentley Systems Incorporated

Bentley is the global leader dedicated to providing architects, engineers, constructors, and owner-operators with comprehensive architecture and engineering software solutions for sustaining infrastructure.

Founded in 1984, Bentley has 3,000 colleagues in more than 45 countries, over $500 million in annual revenues, and, since 2001, has invested more than $1 billion in research, development, and acquisitions.

Article by Karen B. Roberts

Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson and courtesy the Bentleys

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