Richard S. Engelbrecht
President: 1980-1986 (IAWPR)


Richard S. Engelbrecht

Distinguished Pioneer

Professional background

Richard S. “Dick” Englebrecht (1926-1996) was the Ivan Racheff Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  After receiving the PhD degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1954, he joined the faculty at the University of Illinois, where he built the Environmental Engineering Program into a national and international leader.  Dr. Engelbrecht’s research initially focused on public-health microbiology, but later expanded to technology addressing the emerging challenges of hazardous wastes.   Dr. Engelbrecht received prestigious awards and accolades in the US and abroad too numerous to recite here, but notably included his election to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (1976) and his inclusion into the Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Emperor of Japan (1993).

Major Contributions to IWA

Dr. Engelbrecht unleashed an era of significant growth and maturation of IWA’s predecessor organizations (IAWPR/IAWPRC) and thus laid the foundation for IWA to become today’s leading international organization for water.  Dr. Engelbrecht was the IAWPR/IAWPRC President 1980 – 1986, and his stellar service to the organization began before and continued after his presidential term.  As President, Dr. Engelbrecht indefatigably traveled the world to recruit new national members:  national and individual membership began their exceptional growth during Engelbrecht’s tenure.  Major markers of the growth of IWA in the 1980s were the initiation of long-term strategic planning, the advent of the Specialist Groups, the launch of Water Science & Technology (1981), the organization’s renaming as the International Association for Water Pollution Research and Control (IAWPRC, 1982), the first regional conference (Asian-Pacific, Tokyo 1985), the first biennial conference in a developing country (Rio de Janeiro,  1986), and the launch of Water Quality International (1987).

Dr. Engelbrecht’s is and will be remembered as a truly monumental leader and contributor to IWA and its global impacts.

Author:  Bruce Rittmann, USA