In April 2000 Bernard Amadei, a distinguished professor in civil, environmental and architectural engineering, embarked on a visit to Belize. There he made a poignant discovery: 950 Mayan Indians in the heart of the Belize jungle lacked clean water and sanitation infrastructure, and the burden of water collection duties prevented most of the children from attending school. He returned with a prototype and students, implementing a cost-effective water system powered by a nearby waterfall. This marked the beginning of Engineers Without Borders - USA, which has since evolved to a global force, with thousands of volunteers engaging in impactful engineering projects.
In acknowledgment of his numerous contributions, including his role as the founding director of the Mortenson Center in Global Engineering & Resilience, and the co-founder of the Engineers Without Borders-International, Amadei was recently inducted into the American Society for Engineering Education Hall of Fame. The prestigious designation recognizes outstanding individuals in engineering and engineering technology education whose contributions have left a significant impact. The 2023 inductees were announced at the society’s 130th Gala on Oct. 10.
Amadei said he was "deeply grateful" for the recognition.
"It serves as a reminder of the importance of engineering education in shaping the future of humanity in the 21st century," he said. "It validates the belief that quality education is the cornerstone of progress and innovation."
Amadei received his PhD in 1982 from the University of California at Berkeley. Among his distinctions, he is the 2007 co-recipient of the Heinz Award for the Environment; the recipient of the 2008 ENR Award of Excellence; the recipient of the 2015 Washington and ASCE OPAL awards; the recipient of the 2016 C. H. Dunn Award of the Construction Industry Institute; an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Construction; and an elected Senior Ashoka Fellow. He holds seven honorary doctoral degrees (UMass Lowell; Carroll College; Clarkson; Drexel; SUNY-ESF; Worcester Polytechnic Institute; and Technion in Israel). In 2013 and 2014, Amadei served as a Science Envoy to Pakistan and Nepal for the U.S. Department of State.
"I am also grateful to many colleagues and friends for supporting the creation of Engineers Without Borders-USA and the Mortenson Center over the past 20 years," Amadei said. "I remain dedicated to the cause and eager to continue contributing to the field."