design back to Switzerland. Throughout his career, he was a truly international presence, a highly respected lecturer, and a consultant worldwide.
He was born on February 6, 1923, to a family with a tradition in medicine in Gossau, St. Gallen, Switzerland. In 1935, he entered the Jesuit boarding school Stella Matutina (Morning Star) in Feldkirch, Austria, where two elder brothers, his father, and his grandfather had been educated. The Jesuit ratio studiorum, which emphasized intellectual, literary, philosophical, social, and scientific training and included sports, such as swimming, hiking, and skiing, was designed to teach skills, foster democratic leadership, and create esprit de corps. This course of study had a formative influence on Bruno as a future leader. Unfortunately, after the Anschluss of 1938, the Nazi persecution of the Jesuits resulted in the closing of the school. Thürlimann transferred to the College St. Michael in Fribourg where he obtained his Swiss Matura.
Thürlimann chose to study civil engineering at the famous Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Zurich (ETHZ), but his studies were repeatedly interrupted by military service to defend Switzerland’s neutrality during World War II. After receiving his engineering diploma in 1946, he was an assistant at ETHZ for two years. He then continued his studies at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania where he did graduate work on cylindrical shell roofs with Professor Bruce Johnson and received his Ph.D. in 1951.
In 1951–1952, Bruno was a research associate in William Prager’s Division of Applied Mathematics at Brown University, the same years Prager and his colleagues published the theorems that provided the theoretical basis for the limit design of beams and frames. When Bruno returned to Lehigh as a Research Professor in 1953, he played a key role in the revolutionary development of radically new methods of designing with structural steel based on nonlinear material and geometric models. The limit-design approaches required greatly improved knowledge of local and lateral stability of severely plasticized portions of steel beams and columns. Bruno developed design techniques for steel elements in