Geerhard Haaijer Award for Excellence in Education

The Geerhard Haaijer Educator Award, named in memoriam for a former AISC Vice President (Technology and Research), is given in special recognition to individuals who have had a profound and lasting impact in developing a unique application for engineering practice or in the mentoring of future technical leaders. This prestigious award honors those who, through their research and teaching, have had an outstanding impact on advancing the use of structural steel framing in the construction industry. 


The selection panel will consider the individual's:

  • outstanding impact on the advancement of the use of structural steel through research or mentoring
  • contribution through writings, teaching and research
  • recognition by other educators for innovative leadership, excellence in teaching or significance of research
  • work with students through student organizations
  • introduction of innovative teaching methods and concepts

Please note: Nominees must be living at the time they are nominated. Also, because of the prestigious nature of this award, it is expected that this award will not be presented annually; rather, it will only be awarded when the selection panel believes that an individual has demonstrated pre-eminent contributions to the steel design and construction industry through their work as an educator.

How to Enter 

Keep an eye out in mid-2024 for the next nomination period for the 2025 Industry, Designer, and Educator Awards.

Past Winners

2023 - Michael D. Engelhardt, PhD, PE

Michael D. Engelhardt, PhD, PE, Professor, University of Texas at Austin

The Haaijer Award is AISC's highest honor for educators, and Michael D. Engelhardtt, PhD, PE is just the ninth recipient since the Award's establishment in 1999.

Engelhardt is perhaps best known for his research into seismic performance and design of steel structures following the Northridge earthquake in 1994. In the five years following the earthquake, he conducted more than 60 large-scale structural tests of connections for seismic force-resisting systems, which ultimately led to the development of the reduced beam section connections used in special moment resisting frames--one of the first modern moment connections developed after Northridge. That research earned him the 1999 T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award.

He also made substantial contributions to the development and adoption of eccentric braced frames for use as a seismic force-resisting system--an accomplishment that garnered a 2008 AISC Special Achievement Award. AISC honored Engelhardt with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.

2022 - Roberto T. Leon, PE, PhD

Roberto T. Leon, PE, PhD, D.H. Burrows Professor of Construction Engineering, Virginia Tech

AISC's highest honor for educators, the Haaijer Award honors individuals for both their research and teaching. Leon is honored for his nearly 40 years of teaching, research, and professional leadership. He is internationally recognized for his work in seismic behavior and design of composite and hybrid steel-concrete structures, composite action in beam-slab systems, testing of full-scale and model structures in the laboratory, and field instrumentation of structures. He also has served as chair of AISC's Composite Construction task committee and is a member of the AISC Committee on Specifications. He has previously won the AISC T. R. Higgins Lectureship Award, the AISC Special Achievement Award, the AISC Lifetime Achievement Award, been elected a Distinguished Member of ASCE and elected a Fellow within ASCE, SEI and ACI, the ASCE Norman Medal, the ASCE State-of-the-Art award on two occasions, the ASCE Tewksbury Award, ASCE Presidents Award.

2018 - Bruce R. Ellingwood, PE, PhD, NAE, F SEI, Dist M ASCE

Bruce R. Ellingwood, PE, PhD, NAE, F SEI, Dist M ASCE, professor and College of Engineering eminent scholar, Colorado State University

Internationally recognized as an authority on structural load modeling, reliability, and risk analysis of engineered facilities, Ellingwood is a prominent leader in the technical development and implementation of probability-based codified design standards for building structures. His research and professional activities involve the application of probability and statistics to structural engineering, particularly in structural reliability theory and probabilistic risk assessment. He directed the development of the general probability-based load criteria for limit states design that have appeared in successive editions of the ASCE/ANSI Standard on Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures since 1982, which are the basis for strength design in the U.S. His work has also been instrumental in the development of the load and resistance factor design methodology used in AISC specifications that forms the basis for modern steel design. 

2010 - Thomas M. Murray

Thomas M. Murray, Professor Emeritus, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

2009 - Joseph A. Yura

Joseph A. Yura, Professor Emeritus, The University of Texas at Austin

2006 - John W. Fisher

John W. Fisher, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA

2003 - Lynn S. Beedle

Lynn S. Beedle, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA

2000 - William McGuire

William McGuire, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

1999 - Theodore V. Galambos

Theodore V. Galambos, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota