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The College of Engineering on Tuesday honored a professor's decades-long commitment to Bucknell University with a tribute that will benefit future generations of students. The College dedicated Room 317 of Dana Engineering Building as the Transportation Project Room in memory of long-time faculty member Richard G. McGinnis '68.
As the Bucknell Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering's first transportation professor, McGinnis' work made U.S. highways safer for millions of drivers and prepared hundreds of new engineers to continue that work.
"Dick was integral to developing course offerings and projects for our students and in bringing transportation research to Bucknell," said Keith Buffinton, dean of the College of Engineering. "The space being dedicated has long provided a place for students to work on their transportation projects and research, and it is fitting that it now be named in Dick's honor."
The dedication was made possible through the support of Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering Robert Brungraber and his wife, Ruth. Brungraber remembers McGinnis as a steadfast worker who always completed projects on time and whose organizational skills were invaluable in planning numerous experiential learning trips.
"We all miss him very dearly," Brungraber said. "And I think the transportation world appreciates what he contributed to better service and better safety."
McGinnis, whose relationship with Bucknell lasted more than 40 years, died of cancer in August 2011. He first experienced the University as a student, earning a degree in civil engineering in 1968. He went on to earn a master's in civil engineering from Northwestern University in 1969 and a Ph.D. in transportation engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1975.
Returning to Bucknell as a professor of engineering, McGinnis was dedicated both to developing new generations of civil engineers and to making highway driving safer for all. McGinnis' research led to notable regulatory improvements to motorway safety, including reflectorization of all railway cars, redesign of traditional W-beam guardrail standards and the introduction and certification of cable-based, weak-post guardrail systems in the United States.
McGinnis was awarded the Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence in 2003, the Rooke Professorship in Engineering for the period from 2005 to 2008 and the Burma-Bucknell Bowl Award in recognition of his promotion of international study opportunities in 2010. In 2012 he received the Kenneth A. Stonex Roadside Safety Award from the Roadside Safety Design Committee of the Transportation Research Board. He also served as director of Bucknell's Center for Computer-Aided Engineering and Design for four years and, with his then-17-year-old son Rich, authored the textbook, Learning Cadkey.