International legacy in earthquake engineering: Constantinou receives honorary doctorate from University of Patras

Michael Constantinou (second from left) accepts the honorary doctorate in civil engineering from the University of Patras. The University's Rector, Venetsana Kyriazopoulou stands to the right of Constantinou

by Peter Murphy

Published July 22, 2019

Michael Constantinou, SUNY Distinguished Professor and faculty member in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, received an honorary Doctorate in Civil Engineering from the University of Patras, earlier this month.


“Two civil engineers have received this recognition in the past 50 years,” says Andrew Whittaker, SUNY Distinguished Professor and a colleague of Constantinou’s.

Constantinou is a SUNY Distinguished Professor, the highest achievement in the SUNY system, and Samuel Capen Professor of Civil Engineering. Throughout his career, Constantinou has been honored for his contributions to earthquake and structural engineering. He received the Samuel Capen honor in 2014, was named a SUNY Distinguished Professor in 2016, and has earned recognition from various organizations, including the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

The University of Patras awards five honorary doctorates per year to academics, prime ministers, presidents and other notable individuals. Few have been recognized by the University for accomplishments in civil engineering.

According to the program for the ceremony, the honorary doctorate recognizes Constantinou’s over 300 scientific articles, books, chapters and technical reports, his accomplishments in seismic engineering, his four patents, Presidential Investigator Award, various ASCE awards and other accomplishments.

Constantinou is one of the world’s leading scholars in the area of seismic protective systems. He developed the toggle, scissor-jack and open-space damping systems, and introduced fluidic self-centering systems. He has also made key contributions to the development of standards related to seismic protective systems, including the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Recommended Provisions, ASCE standard 7 and 41 and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Guide Specification for Seismic Isolation Design.

Constantinou received the honorary doctorate during a ceremony at the University of Patras on July 3, 2019. Following the recognition presentation, Constantinou gave a talk titled Application of Seismic Protective Systems and the Significance of Testing, Peer Review and Inspection: A Collection of Examples from the Experience of Presenter.

Constantinou joined UB in 1987, and received his PhD in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1984.