Jorj’s first project at Northwestern was to build the soil mechanics laboratory. Although much of the equipment designed by Jorj was inspired by that built at Purdue University and Harvard by Professors Rutledge and Casagrande, its style and operational characteristics incorporated some improvements and provided the basis for the early equipment produced and sold commercially. During his more than four decades on the faculty at Northwestern, hundreds of successful consulting engineers and university professors took his classes and benefited from his wealth of professional experience and vast collection of case histories—and the impact of his philosophy has been felt throughout the world. Jorj retired from Northwestern in 1985 and shortly thereafter moved to Colorado.
In addition to his significant service to several professional and civic organizations over the years, Jorj practiced widely as a consultant for governments, large industrial companies, and consulting firms in almost all 50 states and more than two dozen countries. Of the many recognitions of his contributions to our profession, his election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1975 is perhaps the most prestigious.
Without doubt, Jorj O. Osterberg justifiably earned his place among the most noteworthy pioneers in the field of geotechnical engineering. Throughout his career he continually manifested an enviable combination of sound theoretical background, excellent engineering judgment, good appreciation of economic considerations, and an astute understanding of human relationships. The years provided innumerable examples of Jorj’s keen ability to recognize and diagnose a problem and to suggest a technically implementable and economically feasible solution. In most instances his philosophy inherently equated an overly conservative and expensive design with poor engineering.
Another strong aspect of Jorj’s personality was his intense devotion to professionalism and its associated code of ethics. He always manifested very strong feelings about acting in a manner that was both morally and ethically proper—even