Provost Susan Tighe honoured with prestigious civil engineering award  – Faculty of Engineering

Provost Susan Tighe honoured with prestigious civil engineering award 

Susan Tighe on stage accepting an award.

McMaster University’s Provost and Vice-President (Academic) and professor of civil engineering, Dr. Susan Tighe, has been recognized with a national award for her outstanding and transformative contributions to sustainable infrastructure research in Canada.  

Tighe is this year’s recipient of the inaugural Ralph Haas Award, presented by the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE). Tighe has conducted pioneering work resulting in major changes to airport, road and highway technology, specifications and standards worldwide.  She has an extensive record of scientific achievement.  

“I’m incredibly proud to accept this award,” says Tighe. “To be a professional civil engineer is to have the opportunity to make a meaningful impact in Canada and beyond. It’s that passion and curiosity that has propelled me through my academic and professional career. I have also really enjoyed mentoring the next generation of leaders.” 

The Ralph Haas Award is presented to a member of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering who has made truly outstanding contributions to sustainable infrastructure research in Canada. The award’s namesake, Haas, was a professor of civil engineering at the University of Waterloo and is considered the “father of pavement asset management.” 

“Dr. Tighe’s contributions to sustainable infrastructure in Canada span decades,” says Dr. Gopal Achari, CSCE president. “Her work not only advances the field of civil engineering but also inspires future generations of engineers. We are proud to honour her with the inaugural Ralph Haas Award.”

In a career that spans over three decades, Tighe, who joined McMaster in 2020, has expertise in transportation and pavement engineering and management that laid the foundation to becoming an award winning  Canadian engineer and beacon for women in engineering. Working in Australia, Africa, China, Chile, New Zealand and throughout North America, her work has had global reach and impact. 

After completing her bachelor’s degree in chemical  engineering, she spent nearly four years at the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario and could often be found on construction sites, including supervising MTO inspectors and contractors working on Ontario’s Highway 407. She also spent her first academic sabbatical working in the private sector in Australia.  

Tighe completed her master’s and PhD in civil engineering, eventually joining the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Waterloo where she spent over 20 years as a professor, Canada Research Chair, Endowed Research Chair and Director of the Centre for Pavement and Transportation Technology (CPATT). 

Tighe also led the development of the 2013 Transportation Association of Canada Pavement Asset Design and Management Guide, which sets the standard for pavement in Canada.

Provost Susan Tighe, right, at a job site.

She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being the first amongst the inaugural cohort of inductees to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada and being named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40.

“This award is a well-deserved recognition of Provost Tighe’s outstanding work in advancing civil engineering, research and practice, and I am delighted she is being honoured in this way. Provost Tighe is a valued member of McMaster’s academic and research community, and I look forward to her continued success.”

McMaster President David Farrar

Established in 1887, the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering is a not-for-profit society that champions the advancement of high-quality civil engineering practice and research across the country.