Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. Mel Ramey gives acceptance speech at CEE Alumni Awards Ceremony

August 02, 2017

Remembering Distinguished Alum, Dr. Melvin Ramey

Dr. Melvin R. Ramey, an esteemed Carnegie Mellon CEE alumnus, a passionate educator, and an accomplished researcher, passed away on June 28, 2017.

Ramey was a Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California at Davis, where he taught for 37 years and received the Magnar Ronning Award for Teaching Excellence (1984-85), Black Engineer of the Year (1993), and the Engineering Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award (2002).

During his tenure, Ramey served as Department Chair and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies in the College of Engineering, as well as held positions as assistant university track coach and faculty athletics representative to the NCAA. After he retired in 2004, Ramey’s colleagues and former students started the Melvin R. Ramey Fund for Student Success and later named the UC Davis Student Community Center lobby in his honor.

As a researcher, Ramey’s interests spanned the areas of structural design, structural testing, fiber reinforced concrete, and biomechanics. Notably, his biomechanics research—which included using high-speed videography to analyze the physics of the long jump—led him to become a track and field expert for US Olympic athletes.

Ramey earned both his masters and PhD degrees in Civil Engineering from Carnegie Mellon, in 1965 and 1967, respectively.  His PhD research advisor was Professor James Romualdi.  Following his graduate studies, Ramey stayed in contact with the university and the CEE department in many ways, including serving on the presidential advisory board review of the CEE department in the early 1990s.

“Mel Ramey was an exemplar of professional commitment and innovation,” said David Dzombak, Hamerschlag University Professor and Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.  “For example, he combined his personal interests and expertise in track and field athletics with his expertise in mechanics, forging a new direction in the field of biomechanics and opening a rewarding and fulfilling area of research for him.  We are very proud of Mel.  The entire CEE community sends our condolences to Mel’s family and his many close friends.”

In 2015, Ramey was recognized by Carnegie Mellon’s CEE Department with the Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of his many accomplishments and contributions to the field of engineering.

Dr Mel Ramey at 2015 CEE Alumni Awards
Dr Mel Ramey, with his family, at the 2015 CEE Alumni Awards
Dr Mel Ramey, with professor and department head Dave Dzombak, at the 2015 CEE Alumni Awards
Dr Mel Ramey, with professor and department head Dave Dzombak, at the 2015 CEE Alumni Awards