Rowland Richards Jr., a UB civil engineering professor for 30
years, died Jan. 8 in his Buffalo home after a brief illness. He
Born in New York City and raised in Southern California, Richards
received a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in
1957, a master’s from California Institute of Technology in
1958 and a doctorate from Princeton in 1964.
He taught at Princeton for several years and at the University of
Delaware for a decade before his wife, Martha, persuaded him to
take a position as a professor in her hometown of Buffalo in
At UB, Richards taught courses ranging from fluid mechanics to
A specialist in seismic soil mechanics, he authored numerous
journal articles and book chapters, as well as well as the textbook
“Principles of Solid Mechanics,” which contains
elegantly hand-drawn diagrams and plentiful footnotes full of
literary and observational asides.
He retired from UB in 2010.
As a young man, Richards twice was a U.S. national champion archer
and won the 1950 World Junior Archery Championship held in
Brussels. He spent his summer vacations as a youth working at Trail
Lake Ranch in Wyoming. As a college student, he spent summers gold
mining in California and the Yukon Territory of Canada.
In 1960, he purchased farmland in Waitsfield, Vt., where he opened
Floodwoods Farm to raise Belted Galloway cattle.
He taught during the school year, but during the summers he worked
the farm, which continues to be operated by his family.