The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Friday, 12 October 2012 12:07

Richard Dillon Barksdale (1938 – 2007)


Richard (Dick) D. Barksdale was born May 2, 1938 in Orlando, Florida. He received an Associate Science degree from Southern Technical Institute in 1958, a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1962 and 1963, respectively, and a Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1966. His doctorate under his advisor Professor Gerry Leonards was completed in a record two-year timeframe. Over the next three decades, Dick's research interests would cover many areas within geotechnical and pavement engineering, including: finite element analyses, elastic theory, flexible pavement systems, ground modification, building settlements, behavior of residual soils, aggregates, and resilient modulus. 


Dr. Barksdale joined the faculty in the School of Civil Engineering at Georgia Tech in 1965 and remained until his retirement in 1995. He is best remembered for his research and teaching in geotechnical and pavement engineering. He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), International Society of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering (ISSMFE), Transportation Research Board (TRB), Strategic Highway Research Program, Chi Epsilon, Phi Kappa Phi, and Sigma Xi and served as President of the Georgia Section of ASCE and Chair of numerous technical committees of these organizations.  He was a registered professional engineer in FL, GA, SC, NC, AL, TN, and LA.

Professor Barksdale received the ASCE Norman Medal in 1978 for his paper on “Performance of Asphalt Concrete Pavements” that appeared in the Journal of Transportation Engineering. In 1979 and 1989, he delivered the invited keynote lecture at the International Conference on Structural Design of Asphalt Pavements. He was awarded the Croda Prize in 1990 by the Institution of Highways and Transportation and named a Research Fellow of the British Science and Engineering Research Council in 1988. In recognition for his work as editor and an author of The Aggregate Handbook published by the National Stone Association in 1991, Professor Barksdale received the 1992 Association Trends Award from the American Society of Association Executives and the 1993 Register Award from Rock Products. He was selected as the National Stone Association Professor of the Year in 1996 and received the Distinguished Research Award from the International Center for Aggregates Research/Aggregates Foundation for Training, Research, and Education in 2003. Dick is also known for his 1989 Manual on Design and Construction of Stone Columns that he co-authored with Dr. Robert C. Bachus and his 1997 NCHRP Report on Laboratory Determination of Resilient Modulus for Flexible Pavements that he co-authored with Prof. Paul Khosla.

Professor Dick Barksdale enjoyed teaching and served as an advisor to many masters degrees and several doctoral students during his residency at Georgia Tech. He was able to retire at a reasonably early age in 1996 and took up his time traveling with his family, hiking, enjoying their mountain home in Lake Hartwell, and volunteering at reservations, camps, and other charitable organizations.

To honor Professor Barksdale following his retirement in 1995, the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech established the Barksdale Award for outstanding undergraduate students who are engaged in geotechnical research activities. A listing of the awards given may be found at:

Professor Barksdale is survived by his wife Bonnie, whom he married on November 16, 1962, and their daughters - Cheryl (CE'88) and Richelle (Psych'91), both of whom are GT alumna.

Note: Above e-mail was sent to Geotech-Jiscmail mailing list by Paul Mayne.


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