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Molinaroli College of Engineering and Computing

  • Wilfred Kenneth Humphries

In Memoriam: Wilfred Kenneth Humphries, Ph.D.

The College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) was saddened to learn of the death of Dean Emeritus and Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Emeritus Wilfred Kenneth Humphries on Feb. 4, 2024, in West Columbia, South Carolina. He was 92 years old.

Humphries served the CEC for 34 years, including his tenure as the college’s ninth dean from 1987 to 1996. During his time as dean, the Swearingen building was in its first year as home of the CEC in 1987 and renovations were completed to the 300 Main Street complex in 1993 and 1994.

“Professor Humphries was an alumnus of ours, had a long and distinguished career in civil engineering, and was a long-time and transformative dean of our college. But above all, he was a gentleman, scholar and great friend to the college,” says CEC Dean Hossein Haj-Hariri. “He had long been retired when I joined USC in January 2016, but he continued to keep up with our news and was generous with praise for the many good things that he saw happening in the college. An email from ‘K. Humphries’ was cause for pride and basis for a good day.”

Humphries earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of South Carolina in 1958 and 1964, respectively. He received his Ph.D. in civil engineering (geotechnical with an emphasis on soil dynamics) from North Carolina State University in 1966. Humphries was also a combat veteran of the U.S. Navy and served on the USS Cotton during The Korean War. 

Areas of Humphries research, teaching and professional practice included the effects of blasting on structures, flexible pavements, soil stabilization, and deep and shallow foundations. He was also a consultant and principal for several engineering firms, including Terracon Consultants and S&ME.

Humphries received numerous awards and honors in recognition of his service to the engineering community. He was named Engineer of the Year in South Carolina in 1991 and was awarded the “Order of the Palmetto” (South Carolina’s highest civilian honor) by Governor David Beasley in 1996. In addition, Humphries received the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Government Civil Engineer of the Year Award, 1995-1996, National Society of Professional Engineers Fellow in 2005, "The Letalier Cup" by South Carolina ASCE, and an ASCE Fellow.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the USC W.K. Humphries Family Civil Engineering Scholarship Fund (B12591).

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