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Alfred C. Ingersoll

Professor-in-Residence, Emeritus

Los Angeles



Professor Alfred C. Ingersoll died of leukemia in Crescent City, California on May 6, 1999. He had served as associate dean of UCLA's School of Engineering and Applied Science for Engineering Extension and professor-in-residence of Engineering from 1970 to 1982. Before coming to UCLA he had taught civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Calcutta, India, and the University of Southern California. After retiring from UCLA, he was Manager of Human Resources Development for the Bechtel Operating Services Corporation for four years followed by a short period as a special consultant to the president of the Northrop Institute of Technology. Finally he returned to UCLA as an active emeritus in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, working primarily with students.


Engineering education was his life. He was an educator who would drop everything to help a student, offer a compliment, and give a pat on the back to his students and colleagues. Often he would lend money to students so they could pay their course fee. They always paid him back. He had boundless energy and would rather run than walk or climb stairs rather than use an elevator. His enthusiasm affected all who were around him. No task was too difficult to undertake in his professional and personal life.


Alfred Ingersoll was born on June 8, 1920 in Madison, Wisconsin where his father was a professor of physics at the University of Wisconsin. Al earned his bachelor's and master's degrees and doctorate from the University of Wisconsin. Except for four years as a staff engineer at Linde Air Products (now Praxair Corporation) in Tonawanda, New York, his career was devoted to engineering education (both as a teacher and administrator), to the engineering professional societies and to the importance of engineering registration.


While dean of Engineering at USC (1960-1970) he directed the construction of two major buildings and the expansion of all engineering departments to implement the USC President's 20-year master plan. His deep interest in attracting women in engineering led to establishment the USC student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the first on the West Coast.


At UCLA he was the associate dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science responsible for the Continuing Education Program. He sustained the growth of both the quality and quantity of the programs and greatly expanded the number of certificate programs engineering specialties such as manufacturing engineering.


He taught school-wide courses on water resources and the role of the engineer in society and was a role model himself of a professional engineer. He used his extensive personal contacts to bring the real world of engineering to the students. The contacts also led to the formation of the UCLA Link (#44) of the Order of the Engineer. As an emeritus, he oversaw the establishment of a UCLA chapter of the national civil engineering honor society (Chi Epsilon). He was a prolific writer and addressed a wide range of topics related to engineering education, engineering careers, responsibilities of engineers, ethics, technology policy, the environment and on and on. He was active in the American Society for Educations, National Society of Professional Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers and a popular speaker at their programs and conferences.


Al was married to Elizabeth (Betsy) McNamara for 51 years. After her death, he married Marion Highly. The couple lived in Brookings, Oregon where they became involved in community activities and the Presbyterian Church. He is survived by his wife, Marion, his adopted son, John Ingersoll of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and one grandchild.


Stanley B. Dong

Russell R. O'Neill