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Houston executive, wife honor retired Texas A&M professor Don Murff with fellowship

Thu, 01/26/2012 - 7:23pm
Texas A&M University

“We are pleased to honor Don for his enormous contributions to the offshore geotechnical engineering profession,” said Alan G. Young, vice president of Houston-based Geoscience Earth & Marine Services Inc.

Young and his wife, Melinda, endowed the Dr. Don Murff ’70 Endowed Fellowship with a $50,000 gift to the Texas A&M Foundation. Preferred recipients will be graduate students whose studies and research focus on geotechnical engineering.

“I am overwhelmed by the honor paid to me by Alan and Melinda in setting up this fellowship in my name. Alan and I met in our first soil mechanics course at A&M when we were assigned to be lab partners. During that chance encounter we became good friends and developed a deep mutual respect,” Murff said.

“Coincidentally we chose similar careers as offshore geotechnical engineers. Since that time we have maintained a close personal and professional association serving on numerous committees, working side by side on projects, and co-authoring a number of papers together. This honor, coming from such dear friends, means the world to me,” he added.

Murff holds the designation of Distinguished Member in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the society’s highest accolade. ASCE recognized him for contributions to offshore geotechnical engineering, including physical modeling techniques that use enhanced centrifuge testing and analytical modeling techniques for offshore foundations. He recently received the Distinguished Graduate award from Texas A&M’s Zachry Department of Civil Engineering.

He will present the first McClelland Lecture in London in September 2012 sponsored by the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering.

As a visiting professor at Texas A&M, Murff taught courses in offshore foundations and geomechanics. Prior to that, he worked 27 years for Exxon Production Research Co. in Houston where he was responsible for the design and retrofitting of many offshore platform foundations around the world. He received his B.S. in science and engineering from the U.S. Military Academy and both his M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering at Texas A&M.

“Because of the generosity of the Youngs, graduate students in the civil engineering department will benefit from this support. The Murff fellowship will be a tremendous legacy to the accomplishment of both of these great Aggies and will be a lasting tribute to their friendship,” said Don Birkelbach, assistant vice president for development with the Texas A&M Foundation.

Young has been a pioneer in the area of integrated offshore geoscience studies, a critical technology in the development of deepwater resources. He received his B.S. in civil engineering from Texas A&M University, M.S. in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, and completed the Executive Management Program at Harvard Business School.

He started his career at McClelland Engineers Inc. as a project engineer, rising to the position of vice president and after a merger became president of Fugro-McClelland Marine Geosciences. In 1997 he and partner Mike Kaluza formed Geoscience Earth & Marine Services Inc. The company specializes in geological, geophysical, geotechnical and archaeological analyses, with a primary focus on seafloor engineering, for global oil and gas clientele.

He and Melinda, a retired kindergarten teacher, live in Sugar Land, Texas. They have three sons and three grandchildren.

The Texas A&M Foundation is a non-profit organization that receives major gifts and manages endowments for the sole benefit of Texas A&M University.

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