Academy of Distinguished Alumni

J. Michael Duncan

J. Michael Duncan Ph.D., P.E., Dist. M.ASCE, N.A.E.

Inducted to the Academy of Distinguished Alumni on

James Michael (Mike) Duncan received his Ph.D. (1965) degree in Civil (Geotechnical) Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He also received B.S.C.E. (1959) and M.S.C.E. (1962) degrees in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is presently, University Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, at Virginia Tech where he has served on the faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) since 1984. He was a member of the Civil Engineering faculty at U.C. Berkeley from 1965 to 1984.

Prof. Duncan is an exceptionally accomplished civil engineer and educator who has excelled throughout his career as a teacher, researcher, and engineering practitioner. He has challenged and inspired generations of students through his lucid and engaging classroom presentations. He has provided extensive and exceptional service to the profession as a consultant on major geotechnical projects and problems all over the world and as a member or chair of numerous professional and technical committees. As a researcher, he pioneered the application of numerical methods and computer applications in geotechnical engineering. His hyperbolic stress-strain constitutive model has stood the test of time and continues to be in broad use around the world. He has brought the subject of risk and reliability analyses of slopes from the theoretical into a form suitable for practicing engineers. The book, Soil Strength and Slope Stability, by J.M. Duncan and S.G. Wright, published in 2005, is the definitive work on these two subjects. Overall, his publication list includes more than 250 papers, 8 books or book chapters, 33 manuals and computer programs, and 100 research reports.

Prof. Duncan’s honors include: American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) OPAL Award in Education (2009); ASCE H. Bolton Seed Medal (2008); Foreign Honorary Member of the Japanese Geotechnical Society (2008); Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, Department of the Army (2007); ASCE Karl Terzaghi Award (2003); ASCE Thomas Middlebrooks Award (2003, 1987, 1980); ASCE Distinguished Member (1999); ASCE Stephen D. Bechtel Pipeline Engineering Award (1993); ASCE State-of-the-Art of Civil Engineering Award (1991); ASCE Terzaghi Lecture Award (1991); ASCE Arthur M. Wellington Prize (1989); National Academy of Engineering (1985); ASCE Walter L. Huber Research Prize (1973); and ASCE Collingwood Prize (1972).

Prof. Duncan was a legendary teacher at Berkeley and received the CEE Outstanding Faculty Award in 1975, 1976, and 1984. Since moving from Berkeley to Virginia Tech, he has continued to be a supporter of Berkeley CEE, as examples, through his contributions to the H. Bolton Seed Memorial Symposium at Berkeley in 1990 and his participation in 1992 and 1998 in the CEE Geoengineering Distinguished Lecture Series.