Fred Howard Kulhawy was born in Topeka, Kansas on September 8, 1943 to Fred and Gloria (Hahn) Kulhawy. He spent his childhood and early adulthood in New Jersey, where he received his B.S.C.E. in 1964 from Newark College of Engineering (NCE), which is now a part of New Jersey Institute of Technology. He completed his M.S.C.E. from NCE in June 1966, married Gloria Ianna in September 1966, and they relocated to Berkeley, CA for educational pursuits. He received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in September 1969, and began his Professorial career at Syracuse University, where he advanced to the rank of Associate Professor. In 1976 he joined the Cornell Faculty, becoming Professor in 1981. During his 40-year academic career, Fred taught a wide range of courses in the field of geotechnical engineering. At Cornell he also supervised the annual Master of Engineering geotechnical design project seventeen times. His courses emphasized basics and developing thought processes, but they always were oriented toward design and professional practice.
He has been a prolific researcher, with sponsors ranging from various government agencies to public and private companies. He has supervised 54 M.S. and Ph.D. theses. He has authored/co-authored more than 370 publications. The research done by him and his students has influenced geotechnical practice. His contributions have been recognized with over 20 major professional society awards. Among them are the following: Distinguished Member of ASCE, the highest accolade of ASCE for acknowledged eminence in engineering; the Norman Medal, the oldest and most prestigious technical award of ASCE; and the Karl Terzaghi Award, the ASCE Geo-Institute career accolade for eminence in geotechnical engineering.
After his retirement he kept active in his Consulting Practice, as well as travelling to indulge one of his passions, opera. He is survived by his wife, Gloria; a brother Kenneth of Tempe, AZ; brother and sister in-law, Frank and Nancy Ianna, nieces Kristy and Lindsay, nephew Rob Ianna, of NJ; and numerous cousins. There are no services. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Hospicare, 172 East King Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, or a charity of your choice. Bangs Funeral Home is assisting the family.