skip navigation

Other MCEER News & Outreach

Obituary: Sherwood “Bud” Prawel, Jr., 1932-2012

Sherwood "Bud" Prawel

Sherwood "Bud" Prawel, Jr.

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Professor Emeritus Sherwood Peter "Bud" Prawel, Jr., a faculty member in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering (CSEE) and investigator during the early years of MCEER (when it was the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research – NCEER). He passed away on Monday, August 20, 2012.

A celebration of Bud’s life will be held on September 7, 2012, from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. in St. Charles Borromeo Parish Center at St. John de LaSalle Church, 8477 Buffalo Avenue, Niagara Falls, NY NY 14304, phone: (716) 283-2238; website:

Bud was an accomplished researcher in the areas of ferrocement and masonry construction, who combined theory and experimentation. He was one of the founders of UB’s Department of Civil Engineering, where he helped to shape its profile in the structures area. He designed the first shake table platform of the Structural Engineering and Earthquake Laboratory (SEESL) using ferrocement and constructed it with help from student clubs. He was also among the co-founders of the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (now MCEER).

Bud was a renowned educator and was honored with the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1975. Throughout his long career at CSEE, he mentored hundreds of students, doctoral and post-doctoral associates and young junior faculty. This contribution was recognized with the establishment of the CSEE "Outstanding Structural Engineering Student” award upon his retirement. As of 2012, 17 students have received the award.

He co-authored three books, in mathematics for engineers and structural analysis and design. The books have been extensively used in educating many generations of students nationwide. He was elected and supported many honor societies, including Sigma-Xi, Chi Epsilon and Chi Psi. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1971.

A native of Williamsville, NY, Bud was a former pilot in the Marine Corps, a proud bagpiper in numerous local bands, a woodworker and carver, a collector of cuckoo clocks, a genealogist with roots dating back to the Mayflower pioneers, an award-winning cultivator of orchids, and an active sailor (former Commodore and member of the Wilson Yacht Club).

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Florence, his five children, Pete, David, Tim, Eric and Jennifer, eleven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Memorials may be offered to the University at Buffalo Foundation
(Please be sure to specify S.P. Prawel Fund)
P.O. Box 900
Buffalo, NY 14226-0900
Phone: (716) 645-3013

The S. P. Prawel fund is awarded each spring semester to a student who has demonstrated superior achievement in structural engineering courses.

Read the Buffalo News Obituary, published on August 25, 2012 at

Bud will be missed by his many friends and colleagues at UB.