Academy of Distinguished Alumni
Mohammad Abdulaziz Alshaikh Ph.D.
Inducted to the Academy of Distinguished Alumni on
Mohammad Abdulaziz Alshaikh received his Ph.D. (1975) in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. His graduate school focus was in transportation engineering. He also received an M.S. degree (1972) and B.S. degree (1971) in Civil Engineering from Purdue University. Upon graduation, he joined the faculty of King Saud University in Saudi Arabia, first as Professor of Civil Engineering, then as Dean of the College of Engineering (1977 to 1982). He served as President of the Arriyadh Development Authority from 1982 to 1992 and as Saudi Arabian Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs (1992 to 1996). From 1996 until his retirement in 2004, he was Minister of State and Vice-Chair of the Central Committee of Council of Ministers.
As the founding president of the Arriyadh Development Authority (i.e., the organizational, planning, and executive body responsible for the development of Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh), Dr. Alshaikh is credited with the establishment of a modern planning and engineering paradigm for urban development in Saudi Arabia. His approach incorporates integrated engineering and design in a comprehensive and systematic framework where technical, socioeconomic, and environmental considerations are fully considered. The approach has now been adopted by governments in cities throughout the Kingdom. The resulting projects, many of which have won international awards, are a testament to the merit of his approach. Under Dr. Alshaikh's leadership, the Arriyadh Development Authority was one of the earliest professional engineering organizations to create work opportunities for Saudi women engineers and planners and to establish a nurturing work environment for women to practice their profession.
Among Dr. Alshaikh’s noteworthy projects are the planning, design, and implementation of Riyadh's Diplomatic Quarter; planning, design, and implementation of city center renewal program, Qasr-al-Hokm, and the King Abdulaziz Historic Center; implementation of the city's first demographic, economic, transportation and environmental blueprints.
For many years Dr Alshaikh was the "Dean" of Berkeley graduates in Saudi Arabia. He hosted numerous visits of Berkeley chancellors, engineering deans, and faculty members. While a Government Minister, he facilitated contacts for Berkeley leadership that resulted in major philanthropic contributions to the campus. Over the years, Dr. Alshaikh has given invited guest lectures in the Transportation Program about his work and projects in Saudi Arabia. In recognition of his loyalty and commitment to Berkeley, in 1992 he received the Berkeley International Haas Award.