Waheed Uddin Remembered as Trusted Mentor, Valued Colleague

Professor and researcher remembered fondly by students and colleagues

Waheed Uddin (right) spends time with (from left) Jacob Najjar, UM chair and professor of civil engineering; Rukhsana ‘Juhee’ Uddin, Waheed Uddin’s wife; and Oana Najjar, Jacob Najjar’s wife and academic counselor for the School of Engineering, during the annual School of Engineering awards ceremonies. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – A pillar of the University of Mississippi School of Engineering was lost this weekend with the death of Waheed Uddin, civil engineering professor and founding director of the university’s Center for Advanced Infrastructure Technology.

Previously a pavement expert for the United Nations, Uddin worked, lectured and made presentations worldwide in 28 countries. He had more than 30 years of professional experience in helping design and improve highways, airports, sustainable development and related areas of transportation engineering and infrastructure management.

Waheed Uddin

He was also associate director of the National Center for Intermodal Transportation for Economic Competitiveness, funded by a $6.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation – Research and Innovative Technology Administration.

Uddin’s death left friends and colleagues recalling his lasting legacy.

“Dr. Uddin was a pillar of the Ole Miss School of Engineering whose expertise in civil engineering infrastructure and transportation was responsible for hundreds of graduates finding successful careers around the world,” said David Puleo, dean of the School of Engineering.

“More importantly, Dr. Uddin was a trusted mentor and valued colleague to the students, faculty and staff. Our deepest sympathies are extended to his wife, sons and family at this time.”

Yacoub Najjar, chair and professor of civil engineering, said Uddin was instrumental in his decision to work at the university.

“I came to Ole Miss in July 2012 and have interacted with Dr. Uddin every day since,” he said. “He has been an exemplary faculty member and we loved him. He was a wonderful person who cared for people a lot.”

Uddin was dedicated to taking care of his graduate students, said Elizabeth Ervin, associate professor of civil engineering.

“They are an excellent legacy as representatives all over the world,” she said.

One such student is Jessica Dilley (CE 14), a former transportation engineer for Neel-Schaffer Inc. in Jackson.

Waheed Uddin (right) accepts the 2019 international ‘Achievement’ Award for lifetime transportation infrastructure teaching, research and service at the Seventh ICONFBMP International Conference, held June 12-14 2019 in Thessaloniki, Greece. Submitted photo

“Dr. Uddin did an amazing job working with me throughout my time at the University of Mississippi,” said Dilley, a planning engineer at the Mississippi Department of Transportation who was honored as the 2017 Mississippi Engineering Society’s Young Engineer of the Year. “He was truly one of my lifelong mentors, and I will greatly miss him.”

Uddin received his doctorate from the University of Texas, which inducted him into its Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 2014. The award cites “recognition of a distinguished professional career and lifelong dedication to the support and advancement of engineering education.”

He also earned his master’s degree from the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Karachi.

A prolific researcher, Uddin was chief editor of the International Journal of Pavements and founding president of the International Society for Maintenance and Rehabilitation of Transport Infrastructure. He also was the author or co-author of several books, including “Infrastructure Management” (McGraw-Hill, 1997), which has been translated into Japanese and Chinese.

A private ceremony for Uddin was held Tuesday (Nov. 17) in Oxford. He is survived by his wife, Rukhsana “Juhee,” and their three sons: Omar, Usman and Asad. All were educated at UM over the last 28 years.