Provost Susan Tighe recognized with prestigious civil engineering award 

Two people, one holding an award, smiling at the camera

The Canadian Society for Civil Engineering’s Ralph Haas Award honours Tighe’s outstanding contributions to sustainable infrastructure in Canada. 

Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Susan Tighe has been recognized with a national award for her outstanding and transformative contributions to sustainable infrastructure research in Canada.

Tighe, a professor of civil engineering, is the recipient of the inaugural Ralph Haas Award, presented by the Canadian Society for  Civil Engineering (CSCE).

The award recognizes her pioneering work that has resulted in major changes to airport, road and highway technology, specifications and standards worldwide.

Tighe also has an extensive record of scientific achievement.

“I’m incredibly proud to accept this award,” says Tighe.

“To be a professional civil engineer is to have the opportunity to make a meaningful impact in Canada and beyond. It’s that passion and curiosity that has propelled me through my academic and professional career. I have also really enjoyed mentoring the next generation of leaders.”

Exemplifying civil engineering excellence  

The award, presented to a CSCE member who has made truly outstanding contributions to sustainable infrastructure research in Canada, is named for Haas, a professor of engineering at the University of Waterloo who is considered the father of pavement asset management.

“Dr. Tighe’s contributions to sustainable infrastructure in Canada span decades,” says CSCE President Gopal Achari.

“Her work not only advances the field of civil engineering but also inspires future generations of engineers.”

Two people in hard hats crouching down and working with concrete at a construction site.
Provost Susan Tighe, right, at a job site.

In a career that spans over three decades, Tighe, who joined McMaster in 2020, has expertise in transportation and pavement engineering and management that laid the foundation to becoming an award-winning  Canadian engineer and beacon for women in engineering.

Tighe has worked in Australia, Africa, China, Chile, New Zealand and throughout North America.

After completing her bachelor’s degree in chemical  engineering, she spent nearly four years at the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) and could often be found on construction sites, including supervising MTO inspectors and contractors working on Ontario’s Highway 407.

She also spent her first academic sabbatical working in the private sector in Australia.

Tighe completed her master’s and PhD in civil engineering, eventually joining the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Waterloo, where she spent over 20 years as a professor, Canada Research Chair, Endowed Research Chair, and Director of the Centre for Pavement and Transportation Technology (CPATT).

Tighe led the development of the 2013 Transportation Association of Canada Pavement Asset Design and Management Guide, which sets the standard for pavement in Canada.

She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being the first amongst the inaugural cohort of inductees to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada and being named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40.

“This award is a well-deserved recognition of Provost Tighe’s outstanding work in advancing civil engineering, research and practice, and I am delighted she is being honoured in this way,” says McMaster President David Farrar.

“Provost Tighe is a valued member of McMaster’s academic and research community, and I look forward to her continued success.”

About the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering

Established in 1887, the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering is a not-for-profit society that champions the advancement of high-quality civil engineering practice and research across the country.

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