UB/CSEE/MCEER Alumnus Oscar Ramírez Elected Rector of the Technological University of Panama
University leadership includes three CSEE/MCEER alumni
Inauguration ceremony at UTP. From left: Luis Barahona, Gilberto Chang, Michael Constantinou, Marcela Paredes de Vásquez, Oscar Ramírez, Omar Aizpurúa, Esmeralda Hernández and Rubén Espitia.
Oscar Ramírez, a Ph.D. graduate of the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, was elected Rector of the Technological University of Panama (UTP), the highest authority of the institution. The appointment was made during an inauguration ceremony on Friday, February 1, 2013, where over 500 people, including university officials, government representatives and the university community, joined in the celebration. His term will run for five years, through 2018.
Professor Michael Constantinou, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, who was Ramírez’s advisor, was an invited guest speaker at the ceremony. He told the audience that “Ramírez’s dissertation (published in 2001) represents the basis of the only standard or specification, worldwide, on the design of structures with damping systems. Few students, if any, are ever fortunate enough to see their doctoral work achieve such wide recognition and implementation. To this day, Professor Ramírez continues to be involved in code and specification committees in the Americas, including the American Concrete Institute."
Outgoing Rector Marcela Paredes de Vásquez watches as Oscar Ramírez signs the official inauguration book.
He also spoke about Professor Ramírez’s extensive experience as a practicing engineering. “In 1999, I was fortunate to have Professor Ramírez assist me in the analysis and design of the seismic rehabilitation and upgrade, using seismic isolation, of the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey that was seriously damaged in the earthquake of August 1999. Professor Ramírez performed analyses to evaluate performance when the procedures were then at their infancy.”
Constantinou also presented a seminar on “Seismic Protection Systems” to the civil engineering department the day before the ceremony, on January 31, 2013.
In addition to Professor Ramírez, two other graduates from UB’s Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering were appointed to leadership positions at the university. Gilberto A. Chang, who received his Ph.D. in 1993 (advisor: Dr. John Mander), is now the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, and Ramiro E. Vargas, who received his Ph.D. in 2006 (advisor Dr. Michel Bruneau), is the Director of the Experimental Center for Engineering Research, the position formerly held by Professor Ramírez.
The UB/MCEER group. From left are: Oscar Ramírez, Ramiro Vargas, Danai Constantinou, Michael Constantinou and Gilberto Chang.
All three were funded by MCEER (or its predecessor the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research – NCEER) during their studies at UB.
The Technological University of Panama, founded in 1981, has graduated over 45,000 professionals in the areas of engineering and technology and serves an enrollment of 19,000 students.