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GERARD ADDISON ROHLICH 1910-1983 BY EARNEST F. GLOYNA GERARD ADDISON ROHLICH, an outstanding educator and environmental engineer, died sucIdenly of a heart attack on September 16, 1983, at the age of seventy-three. At the time of his death, Dr. Rohlich held dual positions as professor of civil engineering and professor of the Lyndon Baines ~ohn- son School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. The world is a better place in which to live because of the efforts of Gerarc! A. Rohlich. The contributions he made in providing safe (drinking water supplies, abating water pollu- tion, and improving the general environment have been var- iect and numerous. His career spanned four decades of teaching, research, administration, scientific and profes- sional activities, and public service. Dr. Rohlich applier! the principles of the biological, chem- ical, and physical sciences and of engineering to the solution of real-worId problems. An excellent teacher, Dr. Rohlich helpec! to mold the careers of other engineers and scientists. He also left his mark on the engineering profession and on society through his distinguished contributions and unselfish public service. Gerard Rohlich was born on July 8, 1910, in Brooklyn, New York. His engineering career was launched when he served as an engineering assistant in New York City's Bureau 299
300 MEMORIAL TRIBUTES of Sewers while concurrently studying civil engineering in 1934. He enrolled at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and earner! a second undergraduate degree in civil engineer- ing in 1936 and an M.S. in 1937. His illustrious academic career began as an instructor at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He returned to the University of Wisconsin in 1939 and earned his Ph.D. in sanitary engineering in 1940. In 1941 Dr. Rohlich joiner! the faculty of Pennsylvania State University as an assistant professor anct advanced in rank to associate professor. His teaching career was interrupted briefly while he served as senior sanitary engineer for the War Department's Office of Engineering from 1943 to 1944 and as chief project engl- neer with the Elastic Stop Nut Corporation of America in 1945. In 1946 he returned to the University of Wisconsin as professor of civil engineering to begin a tenure on the faculty that would last until 1971. While at the University of Wisconsin, Gerarc! Rohlich be- came one of the first individuals in the Uniter! States to eval- uate the variables that affect the activated sludge process for the treatment of municipal and inclustrial wastewaters. Many of the finclings of this early research have been reconfirmed in more sophisticated laboratory-controlled bench-scale ex- . . perlmentatlon. His pioneering work in the use of oxidation-reduction po- tential measurements to control biological systems was also consiclerect by many to be a significant contribution. How- ever, his fundamental work on eutrophication of lakes anc! streams and the application of these findings to the control of eutrophication in natural waters are landmark achieve- ments that established his preeminence in the areas of ecol- ogy and environmental conservation. Highlights of his career at the University of Wisconsin in- clucle his directorship of the Water Resource Center anct the Institute for Environmental Studies. He also served as asso- ciate clean of the Gracluate School; participated as a member . .
GERARD ADDISON ROHLICH 301 of the governor's Water Resources Committee, which drafted the Wisconsin Water Resources Act; and served on the Wis- consin Natural Research Board, a position in which he had a significant impact on the aquatic environment in the state of Wisconsin. For his continuer! contributions in this area, Dr. Rohlich was recognized as Wisconsin's Water Man of the Year by the National Water Works Association in 1969. In 1972 Gerry Rohlich went to the University of Texas at Austin to assume the dual positions of C. W. Cook Professor of Environmental Engineering and professor in the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs. At Texas, he be- came more involved in formulating public policy and in pub- lic service. While continuing his research and his role in the education of future engineers ant! scientists, Gerry was also able to influence future civic leaclers and policymakers then enrolled in the School of Public Affairs, providing indiviclu- als responsible for establishing public policy with an appre- ciation of natural ecosystems. A personal source of pride to Gerry Rohlich was his elec- tion to the National Academy of Engineering in 1970 for his contributions to improving man's environment and for his work teaching engineers about environmental control. Some of Dr. Rohlich's later public service activities and contribu- tions to the profession included his chairing the National Re- search Council Committee on Water Quality Criteria and the Committee on Safe Drinking Water. The reports of these committees are significant documents that have become val- uable resource materials for engineers and scientists. He also chaired the National Research Council Committee on the Po- tomac Estuary Study. In acictition, Dr. Rohlich undertook the monumental as- signment as chairman of the National Research Council Committee on Eutrophication. The findings of this commit- tee, in addition to the results of his extensive research into eutrophication, were documented in published reports that are currently used worldwide as source material. He also
302 MEMORIAL TRIBUTES served on the National Research Council Environmental Studies Board. At the time of his death, Gerry chaired the Environmental Engineering Pane} of the Science Advisory Boars! of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Many honors were bestowed on Gerry Rohlich by his peer groups. He received an honorary and life membership in the Water Pollution Control Federation; he was one of the Walker Ames lecturers at the University of Washington; he held an honorary membership in the Brazilian Section of AIDIS (Inter-American Association of Sanitary Engineer- ing); and he was a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. His awards included the Harrison Prescott EcIdy Medal for Noteworthy Research, the Benjamin Smith Reynolds Medal for Excellence in Teaching at the University of Wisconsin, the Karl Emil Hilgard Prize of the American Society of Civil Engineers for research in hydraulic engineering, the George Warren Fuller Award of the American Water Works Associa- tion, and the Gordon Maskew Fair Award presented by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers for his achievements, leadership, and contributions to the total en- vironmental effort. Gerry Rohlich enjoyed the respect, admiration, and friendship of the students he guided and the faculty with whom he collaborated in research and teaching. In addition, he quickly garnered the respect of everyone else with whom he came in contact during his lifetime. He was a welI-known, well-respectec} figure in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Through those persons now involves! in government, private industry, and academia who passed within his sphere, Dr. Rolich's technical exper- tise, ethics, ant! philosophies are continuing to have a major impact on the environmental quality of the world in which we live. Gerry Rohlich elevated a substantial amount of his time to public service, advising ant! assisting local, state, and federal
GERARD ADDISON RO~ILICH 303 agencies and governments throughout the world on engi- neering problems relater! to the control and enhancement of the environment. His dedication to cleveloping and imple- menting solutions to the problem of maintaining ant! im- proving the quality of man's environment was sincere and substantial.