E. Russell Johnston Jr., professor emeritus of civil engineering, died Jan. 24, 2010.
Johnston taught at UConn for 26 years, instructing thousands of students in the principles of structures, mechanics, and materials during his career. He served as head of the civil engineering department from 1972 to 1977.
Prior to joining UConn, he served on the faculty at Lehigh University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Johnston was best known internationally for his collaborations with the late Ferdinand Beer, with whom he co-authored the books Mechanics for Engineers; Vector Mechanics for Engineers; and Mechanics of Materials, all published by McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. The publisher later added their names to its Outstanding New Mechanics Educator Award in recognition of their contributions to engineering education. In 1991, Johnston received the Outstanding Civil Engineer Award from the Connecticut Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
In recent years, UConn professor emeritus John DeWolf and UConn alumnus David Mazurek, Ph.D. ’88, now a professor at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, were added as co-authors on new editions of Mechanics of Materials and Statics & Mechanics of Materials.
DeWolf says it was Johnston who hired him and became his principal mentor at UConn. “He loved working with students and faculty,” says DeWolf, “and he is regarded as a master teacher, master educator, and a true gentleman. He and his long-time friend and co-author, Ferd Beer, set the stage for engineering mechanics education with their groundbreaking series, which has been used by more students than any other engineering books.”