Anestis Veletsos ‘A True Giant in the Field’ Passes Away

Anestis Veletsos. Source: Rice Enginnering/George R. Brown School of Engineering

HOUSTON – Anestis “Andy” Veletsos, a Rice University faculty member for 45 years who conducted influential research in structural dynamics and earthquake engineering, died in Houston on October 25 at age 91, according to www.engineering.rice.edu.

“A handful of people have transformed the field of earthquake engineering over the past century. Andy was certainly one of them. A true giant in the field,” said Reginald DesRoches, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice, and professor of civil and environmental engineering (CEE), and of mechanical engineering (MECH).

Veletsos was born to Greek parents in Istanbul on April 28, 1927, and earned his BS in civil engineering from Robert College in that city in 1948. He earned his MS and PhD in the same field from the University of Illinois-Champaign in 1950 and 1953, respectively, and taught there until 1964.

At the time of his death, Veletsos was the Brown and Root Professor Emeritus of CEE at Rice. He was a distinguished adjunct professor of CEE at the University of Houston from 2010 to 2013.

Veletsos was a Rice faculty member from 1964 to 2009, served as department chair from 1964 to 1972, and published more than 140 papers. His influential research contributions spanned structural dynamics and methods of dynamic analysis, earthquake engineering (elastic and inelastic response spectra), dynamic stiffness of foundations, and seismic soil structure interaction.

A former colleague, Satish Nagarajaiah, professor of CEE and of MECH at Rice, said of Veletsos: “Andy was a great teacher and world-renowned researcher, who made outstanding contributions to earthquake engineering—one of the giants of the field. He will be remembered for his intuitive and unmatched teaching style. He will be missed by many friends and colleagues at Rice.”

Veletsos was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1979 for his “contributions to advancement in structural dynamics and earthquake engineering, especially in inelastic behavior and soil-structure interaction.” He was a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and recipient of two of its most coveted awards: the Norman Medal and the Ernest E. Howard Award. From the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute he received the George W. Housner Medal, among many awards.

He is survived by his wife, Katherine; daughters Ann Marie and Melinda (Vieser); his son-in-law, Jaime Vieser; four grandchildren, Katherine, Alexandra, Bella and Will; and his sister-in-law, Rula Zografos.

Friends are invited to a visitation with the family from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 1 at the Jasek Chapel of George H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive, Houston, where the Trisagion prayers will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m., Nov. 2, at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 3511 Yoakum Blvd., Houston. Interment will follow at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery. Afterward, all are invited to greet the family during a makaria luncheon in the S.P. Martel Hall of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

In lieu of remembrances, the family requests that memorial contributions be directed to the Veletsos Family Scholarship Fund, Annunciation Orthodox School, 3600 Yoakum Blvd., Houston, Texas 77006.

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