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Celebrating 50 Years of Service

Dr. Saada attended the prestigious Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures de Paris and graduated with a degree of “Ingenieur” with distinction in 1958, at which point, he continued his studies at the University of Grenoble, France. In 1959, Dr. Saada came to the United States to work towards a Ph.D. at Princeton University under the guidance of Gregory Tschebotarioff, Werner Schmid, and Hans Winterkorn, leading forces in the field of geotechnical engineering. Upon completion of his Ph.D., Dr. Saada came to the Case Institute of Technology to build a program in geotechnical engineering and develop the appropriate laboratory for teaching and soils research.

Much of Dr. Saada’s early research was dedicated to finding new ways to study granular materials. Through his research, Dr. Saada developed a first of its kind system with the ability to test a near-unlimited amount of stress paths, allowing geotechnical engineers to better study anisotropy. From this research, Dr. Saada published one of the first constitutive equations for anisotropic clay in 1969, a topic which he would continue to study extensively until the late 1970s.

Dr. Saada

At the 9th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering, held in Japan, Dr. Saada’s work was brought to the profession. After the conference, Dr. Saada was asked to present his research and findings to the American Society for Testing and Materials in 1980. The paper published from this presentation is now one of the most frequently quoted by experimentalists in soil mechanics.

Dr. Saada worked with the support of the National Science Foundation started a joint research project with the University of Grenoble in France to create a data base able to validate the constitutive equations that had been recently proposed. This was preseted at a workshop held at Case in July of 1987, with modelers from around the world attending to test the performance of their theories against actual results from the project. The findings still remain a basic reference in mathematical modeling of geomaterials. The project was completed in the early 1990s and distributed to universities around the world, providing them with a substantial range of stress and strain paths to calibrate their constitutive equations.

Another original research of interest Dr. Saada was his work with Dr. Chudnovsky in crack propagation in stiff clays. Their paper exploring the propagation of damage around a crack and the mechanical response it induces earned the Telford Prize of the Institution of Civil Engineers, U.K.

In addition to more than seventy-five technical publications, Dr. Saada has also published a textbook in the field of elasticity. Elasticity, Theory and Application, written by Dr. Saada in 1975 is currently on its 2nd edition, revised and updated (J. Ross Publishing, 2009). The text unifies stresses, strains, classical elasticity and its application to plates and shells through the concept of linear transformations and has been adopted at many universities.

Beyond his academic career, Dr. Saada is also an active foundations consultant in the Northeastern Ohio area. Through his work in consulting, he has been able to bring a vast technical knowledge to industry and has likewise been able to bring field engineering knowledge back to the classroom. His work in the Cleveland area earned him an award for Civil Engineer of the Year in 1992 from the Cleveland Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He also received the Cleveland Technical Societies Council Distinguished Leadership Award in 2001.

While maintaining a strong presence in the geotechnical engineering research community, Dr. Saada also held the position of Chairman of the Department of Civil Engineering from 1978 to 1998. In his time in the position, he helped to create a construction management program. With the support of the Case Alumni Association, he also secured funds to be used for the maintenance of the excellent structures and mechanics laboratories with state of the art equipment and superior computing capabilities.

Continuing his work of expanding the depratment’s educational capabilities Dr. Saada was instrumental in starting the Environmental Engineering discipline and creating the necessary laboratory space for the program. Additional grants from the Ohio Board of Regents also allowed Dr. Saada to work in conjunction with the University of Akron to start a Center for Infrastructure Materials and Rehabilitation. The laboratory equipment purchased through this grant has helped the department to secure research and education grants at the national level.

After stepping down as Chairman in December 1998, Dr. Saada has remained active in the department and continues to teach courses covering both Foundations Engineering and Elasticity Theory and its Applications. In 2000, the Saada family established the Saada Family Fellowship Fund to support graduate students in Civil Engineering. Through this fellowship, two to three fellowships are granted each year to students pursuing a Ph.D. degree. These fellowships can be renewed for up to three years, allowing students and their advisors freedom within their research and thesis topics.

In his time at Case, Dr. Saada has made an impact on the lives of thousands of students. His efforts over the past fifty years have helped advance the study of geotechnical engineering, grow the Department of Civil Engineering, and have provided students with the opportunity to learn from some of the best minds in Civil Engineering. The Department of Civil Engineering would like to recognize and thank Dr. Saada for his efforts throughout his tenure at the University.