Million dollar gift brings world-class engineering professors to UH Manoa

University of Hawaiʻi
Martha Hanson, (808) 956-3716
Associate VP for Communication and Donor Relations, University of Hawaii Foundation
Posted: Nov 25, 2009

HONOLULU - The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and UH Foundation are happy to announce the establishment of the Dr. Alfred A. Yee Visiting Professorship in Civil and Environmental Engineering. This endowed professorship is made possible through the generosity of an anonymous donor and their gift of $1,010,000. The funds will be used primarily to augment a visiting professor’s salary for up to two semesters. The funds may also be used to pay for the visiting professor’s transportation and housing based on availability of funds.
The purpose of this visiting professorship fund is to enhance the student experience at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa College of Engineering by bringing to campus distinguished, world-class professors on a regular basis to teach undergraduate students in the civil and environmental engineering program.
The Dr. Alfred A. Yee Visiting Professorship in Civil and Environmental Engineering will be filled by a visiting faculty member who is not only a recognized expert but also known for having outstanding teaching skills that make a motivational and developmental impact on students. The visiting professor is asked to teach one undergraduate class per semester and is encouraged to give a series of lectures for faculty, graduate students and practicing engineers. It is hoped that they will develop a long-lasting research relationship with faculty in the College of Engineering.
The professorship is named in honor of Dr. Alfred A. Yee, president of Applied Technology Corporation in Honolulu and director of Precast Design Consultants Pte. Ltd., Singapore.
“Dr. Yee took a chance on me early in my career. My background was in civil engineering, but I wanted to gain experience in structural engineering, and he trained me well so I’m grateful for that,” said the donor. “I also wanted him to be recognized for the significant contributions he made and continues to make in his field. I was fortunate to be able to work on some of his more notable projects in Hawai‘i. My hope is that this visiting professorship will expose UH students to the caliber of knowledge and experience that people like Dr. Yee have and can share.”
Dr. Yee organized one of the early precast/prestressed concrete mass production facilities in the United States and has since developed innovative structural concepts, devices and construction techniques widely used in prestressed/precast concrete construction of high-rise building structures, bridges and marine concrete vessels. He has been the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of his work. Awards include the 1997 PCI Medal of Honor for his extraordinary contributions to the precast/prestressed concrete construction industry, especially for his innovative design of precast/prestressed concrete high rise buildings along the Pacific Rim which have survived some of the highest intensity earthquakes in the world. In 2004, Dr. Yee was named a Titan of the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Industry in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the Industry; and in 2007 Dr. Yee was appointed to the International Panel of Experts by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore to assist in the effort to review and strengthen its regulatory framework.
Dr. Yee has served as Honorary Structural Consultant to the Singapore Housing and Development Board for seven consecutive three-year terms and is an Honorary/Lifetime Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and American Concrete Institute (USA). Currently, Dr. Yee is involved in large-scale engineering projects in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
In Hawai‘i, Dr. Yee has been involved with well-known building projects such as the Kahala Hotel (formerly Kahala Hilton), the USS Arizona Memorial, Ala Moana Center, the Ala Moana Hotel, Queen Emma Gardens, the Marco Polo, 1350 Ala Moana, Topa Financial Center (formerly Amfac Towers) and the IBM building.
“We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to bring in world-class civil engineering experts to enrich our curriculum and create working relationships with our faculty,” said Peter Crouch, dean for the College of Engineering.
“This generous gift will enhance excellence in our College of Engineering by enabling UH Mānoa students to learn from engineers at the top of their profession and through mentoring opportunities for our faculty and graduate students,” said UH Mānoa Chancellor Virginia S. Hinshaw.
The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. Our mission is to unite our donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i's aspirations to benefit the people of Hawai‘i and beyond. We do this by raising private philanthropic support, managing private investments and nurturing donor and alumni relationships.
The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa College of Engineering has launched thousands of successful careers in Hawai‘i and throughout the world. Graduates occupy key roles with engineering firms, government agencies, defense contractors, and as entrepreneurs. Many of its 9000 alumni have made significant engineering contributions to the state’s infrastructure and are now set on accomplishing similar tasks abroad. The college’s respect for the Hawaiian culture is reflected in its successful mentoring program for under-represented science and engineering students. As the college celebrates 100 years of engineering education at Mānoa, it is focused on becoming a major contributor to Hawai‘i's renewable energy and sustainable future.