“There is something in the late-night air at the U of I,” says 2003 Outstanding Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Award winner Saiid Saiidi, who had an extended stay here, earning his master’s in 1977, then his Ph.D. two years later.
“You feel it, regardless of the season or the location. At 1 a.m., it is the same, whether you walk in the Quad or swing by the library or the structural engineering testing hall in the Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory — the high-intensity vibration amidst seemingly quiet and peaceful ambience that gives and receives tremendous energy.
“Studying and working in my office in the second floor of NCEL late nights is what I remember the most, with the desks of all graduate students filled with highly motivated, and intelligent individuals with outstanding drive and thirst to seek knowledge and, occasionally, mingle to describe with unmatched excitement their latest finding in research.
“The sense of pride that the ambience instilled in me is unforgettable,” says Saiidi, now a world-renowned professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Nevada-Reno.