Jesus M. de la Garza of Clemson University has accepted a national leadership position that holds the promise of elevating Clemson University’s reputation and profile while opening the door to more collaboration with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
de la Garza has begun serving a three-year term as chair of the National Academies’ Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment (BICE).
de la Garza, who is the director of Clemson’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, is among academia’s most highly decorated civil engineers, with honors that include a 2021 Outstanding Projects And Leaders Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
He said it is an immense honor to be asked to serve as chair of the board and that his top goal is to ensure that its activities are impactful.
“My work with BICE will bring tremendous external visibility to Clemson and will have a corresponding positive impact on Clemson’s brand,” de la Garza said. “Potentially, Clemson faculty from engineering, science, and the liberal arts will be called more often to work with the National Academies on projects of national importance.”
The board receives requests for consensus studies from Congress, federal agencies, and private entities and it assembles teams of subject-matter experts to carry them out. Those studies are organized into reports that are subject to rigorous, independent review and become the position of the National Academies.
Examples of the board’s work range from studies on why a large telescope in Puerto Rico collapsed to the viability of repurposing plastic waste in infrastructure.
The board also issues white papers, performs contracted analysis and conducts symposia, workshops and expert meetings.
de la Garza, whose term as chair runs until Feb. 2, 2026, said his work with the board fits squarely with the mission of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences.
“My work within BICE will directly leverage and bring into sharp focus my work within the school,” he said. “Within both the board and the school, I have the privilege of leading organizations that address questions of technology, science, and public policy applied to the relationship between the built and natural environments and their interaction with human activities.”
de la Garza’s term as chair is his second time serving on the board. He previously was a member from 2008-14.
He also participated as a subject-matter expert in a board study that resulted in two reports: 2021’s “Effectiveness and Efficiency of Defense Environmental Cleanup Activities of DOE’s Office of Environmental Management: Report 1” and 2022’s “Effectiveness and Efficiency of Defense Environmental Cleanup Activities of the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management: Report 2.”
Anand Gramopadhye, dean of Clemson’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, said it is a high honor for de la Garza to be asked to serve as chair of a National Academies board.
“Dr. de la Garza’s new role as chair of the Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment solidifies his position as a national leader and preeminent scholar in civil engineering,” Gramopadhye said. “The National Academies are the gold standard for knowledge and expertise across multiple disciplines, and Dr. de la Garza’s service as one of its board chairs is an indicator of the college’s growing strength in research and scholarship. I offer him my wholehearted congratulations on this well-deserved honor.”
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