Geotechnical Laboratories

The Saada Legacy


In 1962, the year after he received his Ph.D. from Princeton University, Adel S. “Tony” Saada joined the Civil Engineering Department at Case Institute of Technology. At that time, he began building a program in geotechnical engineering, including a teaching and research soil mechanics laboratory. 

Over many years of sustained effort, through budgetary and other administrative challenges, Dr. Saada built the lab in many ways. He bargained for resources, assembled volumes of research materials, which he shared with colleagues and students, and even designed and built much of the equipment on his own.  

Funding from government grants and generous donations from alumni such as Roy G. “Dutch” Harley ’36 and Edward B. “Brownie” Neff, Jr. ’32 continuously contributed to the growth of the laboratory. The soil mechanics program reached a peak of reputation and influence when it hosted the International Workshop on Constitutive Equations for Granular Non-Cohesive Soils in July of 1987. That workshop gathered approximately one hundred professors, along with many of their students, from around the world. 

Now, nearly thirty years later, a renovated suite of geotechnical engineering laboratories – to be dedicated at the Oct. 13 ribbon-cutting ceremony – will further enhance the status of Case Western Reserve University’s geotechnical engineering program. This development will serve not only as a testimony to Dr. Saada’s personal vision for and financial support of his lab, but also as a legacy from him and his family and many former students. Together, these and other contributions will continue and advance the program’s status as a top national presence in geotechnical engineering.


Thanks to the vision, perseverance and generosity of faculty member Adel S. “Tony” Saada, Ph.D., and some of his former students and other alumni, the new state-of-the-art undergraduate and graduate geotechnical engineering laboratories opened this year.