Celebration of life and work: Former CCEE Chair Lowell Greimann

Lowell Greimann

Former chair of CCEE department leaves lasting legacy for student support and advanced structural engineering research

Finding ways to build the best bridges and ensure public safety was a large part of Lowell Greimann’s work at Iowa State University (ISU). For some who worked with the structural engineering professor and former CCEE department chair, that statement is a literal interpretation of Greimann’s outstanding research. Those who knew him, though, knew that Greimann built bridges in more ways than the most literal.

Greimann, who passed away at his home early Thursday, Nov. 23 at the age of 75, fostered new alumni support during his time at ISU. As chair of one of the largest departments in the College of Engineering, he set strategic goals to usher in a 21st-century approach to civil and construction engineering practices. And as a dedicated educator and mentor, he would leave a lasting legacy for numerous students and young faculty.

“Lowell was a genuine and caring person who made an impact in numerous ways and provided leadership during a critical period of growth for our department,” said Terry Wipf, the Don and Sharon Greenwood Endowed Department Chair in Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.

Greimann began his work at Iowa State in 1973, when he was hired as a faculty member in the department of civil and construction engineering (later civil, construction and environmental engineering). His research focused on the structural engineering of bridges, lock and dam structures and nuclear containment structures. From 1990 to 2005, he served as the chair of ISU CCEE. During this time, great strides were made to garner new alumni support and develop the student experience, including:

  • A 31 percent increase in total undergraduate enrollment between 1990 and 2005
  • The addition of environmental engineering to the department’s name, reflecting a growing environmental emphasis in the civil engineering program
  • A more than $160,000 increase in available CCEE undergraduate student scholarship opportunities
  • An increase in both women and minority undergraduate enrollment
  • A nearly $8 million increase in total research expenditures

In addition to his service as department chair, Greimann was structural engineering division leader, associate manager of the Bridge Engineering Center at the Institute for Transportation (InTrans), and interim director of InTrans.

He also received several awards, including the ISU Alumni Association Award for Superior Service to Alumni and the College of Engineering D. R. Boylan Eminent Faculty Award for Research. In April 2018, Greimann will posthumously receive the Iowa State University Foundation’s Order of the Knoll Faculty and Staff Award. Members of the Order of the Knoll, Iowa State University’s most prestigious donor recognition society, believe in creating opportunities to transform lives at Iowa State.

Greimann earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from ISU in 1964. He went on to earn both his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 1966 and 1968, respectively. A strong supporter of the Iowa State educational and research mission, he established the Lowell Greimann Graduate Fellowship in 2012. This award supports exceptional CCEE department graduate students in the focus area of structural engineering.

A memorial service celebrating Greimann’s life will be held on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 10 a.m. at Collegiate Presbyterian Church in Ames. More can be read here.

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