LSU Mourns the Loss of Professor and Researcher Roy K. Dokka

The LSU community lost one of its most dedicated research and faculty members when Roy K. Dokka, Ph.D., passed away on Monday, August 1, 2011, at his residence in St. Francisville, La. He was 59 years old. Dokka is survived by his wife of 37 years, Margie Dokka, daughters Saundra Dokka Parfait and her husband Chris Parfait, and Kristina Dokka Knight and her husband William P. Knight II and son Trey.

Dr. Dokka was the executive director of the Center for GeoInformatics; director, Louisiana Spatial Reference Center; and holder of the Fruehan Family Professorship in engineering at LSU.

Professor Dokka joined LSU’s Department of Geology & Geophysics in 1980 as an assistant professor after receiving his Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of Southern California. He was promoted to full professor in 1990 and became the first recipient of the Adolphe G. Gueymard Professorship in Geology & Geophysics in 1998. In 2001, he became the first executive director for the Center for GeoInformatics. Dokka then joined the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and helped build new research and academic programs in Geodesy and GeoInformatics.

In 2002, he initiated the Louisiana Spatial Reference Center, a partnership with the National Geodetic Survey-NOAA, focused on creating a state-of-the-art positional infrastructure for the state. In 2003, he was selected as holder of the Fruehan Family Professorship in engineering. He had the unique distinction in that he was the only professor in LSU history to have been honored with endowed professorships from two different colleges (Basic Sciences and Engineering).

“Roy’s 31 years of service to the University granted him a long familiarity with LSU and a deep commitment to the research interests in GeoInformatics,” said College of Engineering Dean Rick Koubek. “Roy was a friend, mentor and inspiration to the many lives he touched at LSU and his passing leaves a great void in our College.”

Born in 1951, Dokka received his bachelor’s degree in 1973 from California State University, Northridge, and his master’s degree from the University of Southern California in 1976. His research interests centered on the application of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and geodetic leveling to study the massive subsidence that is affecting Louisiana’s coast and midcontinent, and on understanding the role that tectonism and climate play in creating landscapes. Dokka's areas of specialization included earth systems science and engineering, and applications of the global positioning systems and geographical information systems.

In 1992-93, Dokka served as a program director at the National Science Foundation (NSF). He had been a member of several national policy committees for NSF and NASA dealing with Geology, Geographical Information Systems, and Geodesy. He also served as past-president of the South-Central Section of the Geological Society of America. Dokka was a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and was awarded a lifetime honorary membership in Alpha Lambda Delta, the National Freshman Honor Society for his record of outstanding teaching.

He received a Presidential Citation in 2003 for “outstanding service to the surveying profession in Louisiana” from the Louisiana Society of Professional Surveyors. He was also the 2008 recipient of the Commander’s Medal for Excellence from the New Orleans District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

LSU honored Dokka as one of the 2008 and 2009 “Rainmakers,” by the Office of Research and Development, recognizing 100 exceptional members of the LSU faculty for their pioneering research and innovative scholarship in earning the highest levels of outside funding and mentoring the finest graduate students. In 2009, he served as coordinator for the Geotechnical Group in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

His research activities were extensive and in 2010, he was appointed by Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La. as Member, United States Senate CODEL to the Netherlands: Coastal Flooding; and the State of Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources named him Member, Future Subsidence Taskforce.

Memorial service plans will be announced at a later time.

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Article by Mimi LaValle, LSU College of Engineering, 225-578-5706,