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Longtime Engineering Professor Goodpasture Remembered


Longtime UT civil engineering professor David W. Goodpasture passed away Wednesday, September 14, at age 77.

After attending Knoxville’s Fulton High School, Goodpasture graduated No. 1 amongst civil engineering students in the class of 1960.

He worked a short time with Boeing before earning a Masters from the University of Illinois. Goodpasture had brief stints at UT and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before returning to Illinois to earn his doctorate.

Goodpasture then returned to UT to teach in what is now the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, spending 38 years until his retirement in 2004.

Since that time, he served as a professor emeritus, bringing his total commitment to UT to more than fifty years, frequently collaborating with colleague and friend Edwin Burdette.

“David and I and later Dr. Hal Deatherage worked for many years on numerous research projects sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Transportation,” said Burdette, who recently retired as the Fred N. Peebles Professor in the department and has a professorship named in his honor.

“He was the indispensable man on those projects, the only one with the expertise to use the computerized data taking equipment necessary to perform the research.”

His particular expertise came in the testing and design of highway bridges, including being a co-investigator on the first such project at UT.

At one time or another during his tenure as a full-time professor, Goodpasture taught every required course related to structures in addition to both undergraduate and graduate courses dealing with the design and behavior of steel structures.

Burdette noted that hundreds of Goodpasture’s former students still remember his graduate course in behavior of steel structures, both for his expertise and his thoroughness

“David never really ‘bought in’ to grade inflation,” said Burdette. “He left a positive mark on civil engineering at UT, and he will continue to be remembered with pleasure and gratitude by many former students.”

A devout Christian and a longtime member of Concord First Baptist Church, he was the son of the late John and Eula Goodpasture and was preceded in death by his wife, Marion, and sister, Jacquetta Weaver. He is survived by several children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

Read his obituary here.