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Hugh McNiven (1922-2009)

Hugh Donald McNiven, professor emeritus of civil and earthquake engineering, died on December 7, 2009 at his home in Berkeley, California. Dr. McNiven died peacefully of heart failure in his sleep. He was 87.

Dr. McNiven was a professor and educator at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1957 to his retirement in 1991. He was director of that institution's Earthquake Engineering Research Center between 1980 and 1985. He also served as president of the University Art Museum and on numerous University committees. An author of over 100 scientific research papers and books and a well-loved lecturer, Dr. McNiven worked in the area of mathematical modeling of structures during earthquakes and the mechanics of solids.

Born August 6, 1922, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Hugh McNiven was the second of three children born to James McNiven and Pearl Beatrice Mary (Jackson) McNiven. He graduated from Etobicoke High School, and attended the University of Toronto (class of 1944). In addition to serving in the Canadian Army, Hugh McNiven obtained a master's degree from Cornell University (1949) and a doctorate from Columbia University (1957). He married Marion Elizabeth Fitzhugh in California on September 12, 1959.

After retirement, Dr. McNiven pursued his love of antiquarian book collecting. He is survived by his wife, Marion; his daughter, Carolyn Fitzhugh McNiven; his grandsons, Charles Lee Sohn and James Henry Sohn; and his sister, Kathleen Compton.

A public memorial service is planned for January 31, 2010, at 1 pm at the Faculty Club of the University of California, Berkeley. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in his name to the Bancroft Library and the Save the Redwoods League.

Dr. Hugh McNiven

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Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering
last updated 12.23.09