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Bruneau named distinguished member of ASCE

Michel Bruneau standing on a platform inside UB’s Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research.

Michael Bruneau (right) inside UB’s Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research.


Published May 18, 2022

Michel Bruneau.
“Michel is one of the most influential structural engineers of the last three decades. ”
Joseph Atkinson, professor and chair
Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

Michel Bruneau, an internationally known leader in civil engineering, is one of 10 experts to be honored as a distinguished member in 2022 by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), a status reserved for the most eminent civil engineers in ASCE. 

Bruneau, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, was recognized for contributions to advance the state of the art in structural engineering, ductile design of steel structures, multihazard engineering and seismic resilience through innovative research that has helped shape design codes and standards.

According to ASCE, “a Distinguished Member is a person who has attained eminence in some branch of engineering or in the arts and sciences related thereto, including the fields of engineering education and construction.”

“Michel is one of the most influential structural engineers of the last three decades,” says Joseph Atkinson, professor and chair of the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering. “This recognition is well-deserved, and we’re proud to have someone whose career has been so critical to the safety of communities in our department.”

Bruneau’s work enhances the resilience of structures against extreme events. His work spans across multiple concentrations and decades, and his research on steel plate shear walls, ductile bridge diaphragms, tubular eccentrically braced frames, structural fuses and controlled-rocking piers have made major impacts on the resilience of structures. 

Some of Bruneau’s most recent research focused on SpeedCore, a new structural system consisting of concrete-filled composite steel plate shear walls. SpeedCore almost cuts the structure construction time for high-rises with core walls in half, as demonstrated with Seattle’s second-tallest building, Rainier Square, completed in 2021.

The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) honored Bruneau with its Lifetime Achievement Award for his major contributions advancing the seismic design of steel structures for over 30 years. Bruneau also received the AISC Special Achievement Award for his work on SpeedCore in 2020.

He was inducted as a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering in 2017 and as a fellow of ASCE’s Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) in 2019. Each organization has its own criteria for fellowship, but both recognize the accomplishments Bruneau has made during his career. The SEI fellowship distinguishes Bruneau as a leader and mentor in the profession, and according to his CAE fellow induction notice, “his work has defined disaster resilience in a manner that has since driven research in this field.”

He was named a SUNY Distinguished Professor in 2018, the highest faculty rank in the SUNY system, and was the recipient of the J. James Croes Medal, George Winter Award, Raymond C. Reese Award and Moisseff Award, all from ASCE.

Over the course of his career, Bruneau has contributed to the development of codes and standards, bridge engineering, and structural and earthquake engineering. He is an author or co-author of more than 550 technical publications and is one of the most cited researchers in fields of structural engineering and earthquake engineering.

He has conducted reconnaissance visits to numerous disaster-stricken areas to conduct on-site observations and studies of structural damage. He has also participated in various expert peer review panels, project advisory committees and special project design teams.

Bruneau joined the UB faculty in 1998 and served as deputy director (1998-2003) and then director (2003-08) of UB’s Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research, now known as MCEER.

He received a PhD in structural engineering, with a specialization in earthquake resistant design, from the University of California, Berkeley in 1987.