Dr. Leslie Gordon Jaegar


CSCE learns with great sadness of passing away of Past-President Leslie Gordon Jaeger, BA, MA (Cantab.), Ph.D, D.Sc, University of London, on August 20. He is survived by his wife, Kathleen, and daughters, Valerie (Michael) and Hilary (Christopher), and grandchildren Marc (Courteney) and Alexandra, niece Merrill and nephews David, Ian and Roger, and several relatives and friends. Dr. Jaeger had been very actively and productively involved with CSCE, and NSERC in several capacities. He was CSCE President in 1992-93, and was Chair of NSERC Cooperative Research Opportunities Committee. He was a visionary Founding Member of ISIS, and initiator of many useful research projects for the network. He was a Fellow of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, Canadian Academy of Engineering, Engineering Institute of Canada, and The Royal Society of Edinburgh. Carleton University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Technical University of Nova Scotia and Dalhousie University conferred their honorary doctorate degrees on him for his exemplary life-time contributions to engineering and the society.

After brief assignments with the Royal Navy and the University of London, Dr. Jaeger joined McGill University as a Full Professor in 1962. He followed it with senior appointments as the Dean of Engineering at the University of New Brunswick, Vice President (Academic) at Acadia University and Vice President (Research) at the Technical University of Nova Scotia. His continued academic excellence and leadership led to his appointment as Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University.

Dr. Jaeger was unique in combining applied mathematics, applied mechanics and his exceptional expertise in advanced structural analysis, earthquake engineering and highway bridges. He used his outstanding knowledge as Technical Editor of the Ontario Highway Bridge Design Code, and its successor the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code. In addition, Leslie Jaeger was a brilliant researcher and an excellent professional engineer, who could visualize difficult engineering problems and find safe and sustainable solutions, demonstrating his clarity of vision and engineering skills. Professor Jaeger was the author or co-author of 9 easy to understand and well referred books, and over 180 refereed articles on earthquake engineering, advanced structural analysis and bridge design. The highly prestigious Gzowski and Leipholz medals are among the numerous honours and awards which acknowledge his illustrious career. He richly deserved every one of these and, above all, he was the most deserving recipient of the Order of Canada. Dr. Jaeger’s outstanding intellect, leadership qualities, good sense of humour and warm human qualities attracted graduate students from around the world. Most of these students have distinguished themselves in service to the profession and their societies. Every one of them have recognized him as the best teacher they ever had during their school, college and university days. He had a unique and rare knack of reducing extremely complex concepts to the simplest terms, and get the students to clearly understand and apply them; he imparted qualities of teaching excellence in all of his students and in those associated with him.

Dr. Jaeger was dedicated in developing strong international exchange programs between CSCE and sister societies, especially those in developing countries. In addition, his strong ties with his former students and newly formed professional liaisons led to his outstanding involvement in lecture tours, seminars, conferences and interesting projects in India, China and Pakistan, which was recognized by his appointment as Honorary Professor of Civil Engineering at Tongji University, Shanghai, China, and as Honorary President of the Usman Institute of Technology, Karachi, Pakistan.

Leslie Jaeger was a unique and an outstanding human being, a daring and brilliant researcher, a truly outstanding engineer, and an exemplary and caring teacher, who was always well ahead of the times. He was a tremendous mentor, research director, dedicated teacher and above all a most considerate friend to many who will be missed dearly.