Dr. Frank J. Germano

 

CEE HALL OF DISTINCTION: 2008


Frank J. Germano* was born and raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, where he received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil engineering and the Ph.D. of civil engineering degree in 1934. Upon graduating, he worked as an assistant design engineer for the Metropolitan District of Hartford, Connecticut.

He joined Louisiana State University in 1936 as an instructor in the Engineering Mechanics Department, realizing his ambition to teach. "Students are my life," was a favorite quote of Dr. Germano. In 1937 he was promoted to assistant professor and became an associate professor in 1943. He attained the rank of professor of engineering mechanics in 1948 and the following year was selected to head of the Department of Engineering Mechanics and remained in that position until 1953. He became only the third person in the history of the Civil Engineering Department since 1894 when he assumed the position of head in 1953. He remained in this position until his retirement in 1976, at which time he received the title Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering.

During his academic career, Dr. Germano achieved notoriety as author and co-author of several fundamental textbooks in the fields of fluid mechanics and strength of materials. He also served as a consultant to a number of private engineering firms, including the Ford Foundation, and worked in the Caribbean area with the late Dr. Richard Russel of LSU, a world renowned geographer and authority on beach morphology.

Dr. Germano was Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a member of the American Society for Engineering Education as well as the Louisiana Engineering Society. He was inducted into Tau Beta Pi and Chi Epsilon societies as well as Sigma Xi and Phi Kappa Phi.

Dr. Germano continued to carry a half-time teaching load during his years as department head. The professor's interest in his students extended beyond the classroom, and he took an active interest in many student organizations within the LSU College of Engineering. Moreover, he constantly served as counselor, advisor, and close personal friend to countless students. Dr. Germano received three major awards for his teaching performance. These include the LSU Foundation's Distinguished Faculty Fellowship, the Halliburton Award fro Teaching Excellence, and a Certificate of Meritorious Service from the Louisiana section of the American Society of Civil Engineers for his contributions to engineering education. He was often overheard saying, "(There is) never a day that don't look forward to going into the classroom." After his retirement in 1976, Dr. Germano returned to the classroom, becoming the first retired faculty member on the LSU campus to resume regular teaching without pay. Fluent in Italian and Spanish, he was an exchange Fulbright Professor and lectured for one year at the Politechnico de Milano in Milan, Italy. He was also visiting professor at the University of Nicaragua.

Dr. Germano passed away on October 27, 1983, and is survived by his wife, Mrs. Alma Germano, of Baton Rouge, who received her bachelor's degree in home economics from LSU, and his children, Charles Germano with IBM in New Orleans, Andria Hathorn with IBM in San Francisco, and Carolyn Schneider with Concord Risk Services in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Dr. Germano was a premier teacher, motivator, and a builder of character. He loved teaching both the fundamentals and the practical aspects of engineering. He molded and motivated hundreds of students across all engineering disciplines with his teaching, his wit, and his enthusiasm, as well as his genuine warmth. He was committed to students and to their preparation as engineering professionals. All those whose lives he touched through classroom, social or professional associations speak of him with the highest regard.

The College of Engineering has established the Frank J. Germano Design and Computation Center to pay tribute to this great man. Appropriately, former students made the first gifts that led to the computer-design laboratory created mainly for undergraduate students in civil engineering. The Center located at 2412 Patrick F. Taylor Hall, was formally dedicated on November 16, 1989.

* Deceased