Dr. George Dvorak,88, an accomplished scholar, passed away peacefully at his home on Saturday, April 23, 2022. George was born and brought up in the Czech Republic. In 1964, he escaped communism and came to the US. He was not only an accomplished scholar, he was a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, and among about 2000 most prominent living engineering professionals in the country.
George received C.E. in Structural Engineering from Czech Technical University in 1956, and C.Sc. in Structural Mechanics from Czechoslovak Academy of Science in 1964; both in Prague.
George joined the faculty of Duke University in 1967. He earned a Ph.D. in Solid Mechanics from Brown University in 1968.
After more than a decade, he moved to the University of Utah as the Department Chair of Civil Engineering in 1979. He was later recruited to be the Department Chair of Civil Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1984. George spent nearly a quarter of a century at Rensselaer until his retirement in 2008. Afterwards, he has also served as Research/Visiting Professor at the University of Connecticut and the University of North Texas.
Off university campuses, George has played leadership roles such as the President of the Society of Engineering Science during 1988-1989. He has received numerous awards, such as the 1992 ASME Nadai Medal, for pioneering research in the mechanics of modern materials; 1994 SES Prager Medal, for outstanding contributions to the mechanics of solids; 1995 election to the National Academy of Engineering; 1995 Fulbright Fellowship, Technical University of Denmark; 1997 Doctor honoris causa from the Czech Technical University in Prague, and the 1999 Brown Engineering Alumni Medal; 2002 ASME Daniel C. Drucker Medal for research achievements in plasticity, material fracture and fatigue and thermo-mechanics of heterogeneous materials. A Special Issue of the International Journal of Solids and Structures, Vol. 40, No. 25 was published in honor of George J. Dvorak in 2003. The 2006 ASCE Theodore von Karman Medal for fundamental contributions to the mechanics of material behavior, including micromechanics and fracture and fatigue if composite materials and structures.
In addition to mentoring a dozen PhD students and post-docs/visitors, George has been a beloved mentor to his junior colleagues. One of his junior colleagues at Rensselaer, Hanchen Huang, has continued collaborations and remained in contact with him since early 2000s and has fond memories of the mentorship from George.
Survivors include his son George Dvorak, Jr; his sister Julie and her husband Otakar Slaby; a nephew Jiri and his wife Monika Slaby and their daughter Kristina; a niece Ivana and her husband Milan Toman and their daughters Katerina and Adela and his longtime companion Mary Ellen Clark.
A graveside service will be held at 11:30am Thursday, April 28 at the Albany Rural Cemetery.
Meet at the South Gate (Route 378) at 11:15am.
Arrangements are by Cannon Funeral Home, 2020 Central Avenue, Albany.
To leave a condolence, please visit www.cannonfuneral.com.
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