National Organization Recognizes Professor for Exemplary Work

Geosystems Research Institute
May 12, 2009

William H. McAnally, research professor of civil and environmental engineering (CEE), is the 2009 Hans Albert Einstein Award recipient.

The award is made annually to a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers who has made a significant contribution to the engineering profession in the areas of erosion control, sedimentation and or waterway development either in teaching, research, planning, design, or management. Through McAnally's professional career with the U.S. Corp of Engineers and serving as a university professor and researcher, he has contributed significantly to all aforementioned areas.

Patrick Natale, executive director of the ASCE organization, stated in the award notification letter that the ASCE's Environmental Water Resources Institute will honor McAnally at its annual congress, "For his exemplary career as a researcher, manager and educator. Most notably, his outstanding contributions to the engineering profession in the areas of hydraulics, sedimentation and environmental and navigation engineering, and for his inspirational teaching, mentoring and professionalism."

An Arizona native, McAnally moved to Vicksburg, Miss., and spent over 30 years working with the U.S. Corp of Engineers. During that time he was promoted into a supervisor role and discovered he enjoyed helping younger colleagues achieve their professional goals. McAnally’s passion for teaching motivated him to pursue a master’s and doctorate degree in coastal and oceanographic engineering from the University of Florida, in 1973 and 1999, respectively. He earned both degrees while working full-time at the Corp of Engineers. Six years ago he retired from the Corp and began his new career at Mississippi State.

"Bill has dedicated his career to improving our understanding of the transport of sediments in navigable waters and devising ways to mitigate the adverse environmental and commercial impacts of these processes," said Dr. Dennis Truax, James T. White Chair and department head and professor of CEE. “Through his efforts, the need for waterway maintenance has been decreased and the inland waterways can be kept operational longer with lower cost.”

McAnally serves as the co-principle investigator with Dr. David Shaw, director of the Northern Gulf Institute (NGI), on three research projects sponsored by the NGI, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and NASA. Five universities form the NGI, with Mississippi State serving as the lead university. The other institutions include the University of Southern Mississippi, Louisiana State and Florida State Universities. The Dauphin Island Sea Lab represents all the universities in the state of Alabama. McAnally and Shaw oversee the research that focuses on providing dependable research information and tools for water resource engineers, so they can do a better job of conserving, managing and protecting watersheds and the Earth’s natural resources. The resource area covered is the nation’s sixth largest river system that flows into the Mobile Bay, which is the fourth largest watershed in the United States.

“Dr. McAnally is an exceptional researcher; his accomplishments in sediment transport and watershed modeling are truly outstanding,” stated Shaw. “In addition, Dr. McAnally has provided true leadership in multi-disciplinary teams of scientists and engineers, addressing some of the most pressing problems in the Gulf of Mexico region.”

McAnally also has authored more than 100 publications and most recently edited the “ASCE Manuals and Reports on Engineering Practice No. 116 Navigation Engineering Practice and Ethical Standards.” An additional accolade recognized McAnally as one of the 2008 class of outstanding engineering educators and inducted him into the Bagley College of Engineering Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

“I’m deeply honored. Several of my heroes and mentors, Ray Krone, Tony Thomas and Ashish Mehta are prior winners and I'm humbled about joining engineers of their stature on the list,” said McAnally. “Einstein taught two of the giants in fine sediment research, Krone and Emmanuel Partheniades. The short list of winners is mostly people with world-wide reputations, so the cachet of joining them is considerable.”

The Coasts, Oceans, Ports, and Rivers Institute and the Environmental and Water Resources Institute established the Hans Albert Einstein Award to honor Hans Albert Einstein for his outstanding contributions to the engineering profession and his advancements in the areas of erosion control, sedimentation and alluvial waterways. The honoree’s friends and former students in appreciation of his positive influence on their professional development contributed the funds. The award was officially instituted by action of the executive committee of the ASCE Board of Direction in October 1988.

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