Distinguished Alumni Awards

James Robert Harris

James Robert Harris
To James Robert Harris, for his contributions to the development, improvement, and implementation of modern structural codes and standards, and as a principal in the design and restoration of many signature buildings.

President, J. R. Harris and Company, Denver

  • BS, 1968, Civil Engineering, University of Colorado￿Boulder
  • MS, 1975, Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • PhD, 1980, Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The contributions of James Robert Harris to the standardization and adoption of earthquake-resistant design in the United States have been visionary and far-reaching. He is nationally recognized as one of the major contributors over the past three decades to the advancement of modern codes and standards for safe and reliable structural design and has been a key player in the development of the Building Seismic Safety Council/National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program’s Recommended Provisions for Development of Seismic Regulations for New Buildings and Other Structures. His leadership as a board member and president of the Applied Technology Council has contributed to several landmark documents that are being used as the source of national guidelines for new design and retrofitting. These guidelines have led to upgraded structures for withstanding earthquakes as well as many other types of natural hazards.

Because of his experience with structures subjected to extreme events, Harris was selected for service on the national team that investigated the damage sustained by the Pentagon in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack.

Harris has designed or evaluated hundreds of structures, ranging from dwellings to high-rise buildings, as well as industrial facilities, long-span bridges, excavation bracing, and pile and pier foundations. He has extensive expertise in vibration issues, structural materials, and management of all structural disciplines.

He is the author or co-author of more than 3 major documents, all serving to improve professional practice. Harris received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Illinois Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2009.

Current as of 2010.