Special Achievements

Alumni Achievements

CEC has a tradition of producing leaders. As a matter of fact, out of the 1456 CE program alumni who graduated between 1951 and 2005, 321 (or 22%) held or are holding a position of leadership at their firms. On the Construction Program side, 467 (or 36%) out of the 1306 alumni who graduated between 1948 and 2008 held or are holding a position of leadership at their companies.

Moreover, up to 2014, ten of CEC’s alumni passed the bar exam (5 in each program), eight went on to obtain a Ph.D., and two became university presidents: Gerald William May (1962) served as the President of the University of New Mexico from 1986 to 1990, and Jerry Abegg (1947) served as the President of Bradley University from 1970 to 1992.

Faculty Achievements

CEC has managed to create an environment where faculty are motivated and empowered to excel. As a result, CEC is leading the university in terms of the number of earned awards as CEC faculty averaged more than one university award per year over the nine-year period between 2007 and 2016. Moreover, the only faculty member to ever win all of the three prestigious university awards in teaching, research, and service is Dr. Amir Al-Khafaji, Professor of Civil Engineering and Construction. Over the years, CEC faculty have won the following Bradley University awards:

  • Dr. Abegg (1961 Putnam Award for Excellence in Teaching)
  • Dr. McNabb (1978 Putnam Award for Excellence in Teaching)
  • Dr. Adrian (1979 Samuel Rothberg Professional Excellence Award)
  • Dr. Muvdi (1983 Putnam Award for Excellence in Teaching)
  • Dr. Al-Khafaji (1991 Samuel Rothberg Professional Excellence Award)
  • Dr. Al-Manaseer (1993 Caterpillar Inc. Faculty Achievement Award for Scholarship)
  • Dr. Nassar (2001 Parents Association Award of Excellence)
  • Prof. George (2007 Parents Association Award of Excellence)
  • Dr. Al-Khafaji (2008 Putnam Award for Excellence in Teaching)
  • Dr. Schattler (2009 Caterpillar Inc. Faculty Achievement Award for Scholarship)
  • Dr. Al-Khafaji (2010 Parents Association Award of Excellence)
  • Dr. Al-Khafaji (2010 Francis C. Mergen Award for Public Service)
  • Dr. Maillacheruvu (2010 Putnam Award for Excellence in Teaching)
  • Dr. Mahmoud (2012 Caterpillar Inc. Faculty Achievement Award for Scholarship)
  • Dr. Elhouar (2013 Francis C. Mergen Award for Public Service)
  • Dr. Maillacheruvu (20013 Outstanding Advisor)
  • Dr. Khodair (2014 Caterpillar Inc. Faculty Achievement Award for Scholarship)
  • Dr. Lee (2015 Caterpillar Inc. Faculty Achievement Award for Teaching)

CETI Conferences and Workshops

The department’s commitment to leadership through service and quality education is enhanced through the Center for Emerging Technology in Infrastructure (CETI). The CETI was founded by Dr. Amir W. Al-Khafaji to bring academia, industry, and government together to solve the complex problems facing the civil engineering and construction industries. Through the CETI, CEC offered conferences on innovations in asphalt, transportation, and construction. In 2006, the International Construction Innovations Conference (ICIC) attracted scholars, political leaders, VIPs and world class CEOs from 31 countries. The Innovations in Construction, Asphalt, and Transportation (ICAT) attracted more than 600 attendees in 2014 and 2015 and close to 700 attendees in 2016, which was the 29th time the conference was held. US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood attended three of the ICAT conferences along with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and CEOs from across the globe. The CETI conferences provide unparalleled opportunities for students and faculty to network with prominent professionals from across the world. CETI has also offered workshops for the benefit of the local industry to help them improve and create long lasting relations and improve employment and internship opportunities for our students.

The CETI brings an incredible recognition to the department and the university, a recognition that created opportunities for CEC faculty to secure sizeable external grants and allowed the department to obtain valuable support for students and faculty.

Faculty Scholarship

CEC faculty have had remarkable success in securing research grants and supporting students. In the eight year period between 2008 and 2016, CEC faculty have been able to secure close to $3 million in grants and supported more than 175 undergraduate and graduate students. The ability of CEC faculty to successfully engage undergraduate students in research activities is truly remarkable. A great example of this success is when a CEC junior, Ms. Laura Nicklaus, won an award for a presentation she made at a conference while competing with MSc. and Ph.D. level students.

Professional Partnerships

The CEC industry partners impact our students’ educational experience in many profound ways. They provide scholarships to students to open doors of opportunity for many to join CEC at Bradley. They donate separate funds for our students to participate in the Global Explorer Program. They provide support and funding that allow CEC to maintain cutting-edge technologies, computer facilities and laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. They serve on our advisory board and have a direct impact on the CEC curricula and student education. They interact with our students in a variety of ways such as participating in the senior design course, networking with students at CETI sponsored conferences, participating in the CEC Job Fair and hiring our students for internships and full-time careers upon graduation, lecturing in class for selected topics, and supporting our student organizations and their competitions by providing facilities and materials to construct, for example, the concrete canoe. The industry partnerships provide substantial opportunities for CEC students, faculty and our department.

Financial Support for Students and Endowed Scholarships

The CEC Department leads all departments across Bradley University in the number of scholarships available to undergraduates. Currently nearly 30 annual and endowed scholarships are available to students through the department. Endowed scholarships are over $1.7 Million and annual scholarships are around $100,000. Private donors and industries with strong ties to CEC are amongst the contributors. Scholarships are awarded to meritorious and/or needy students. Some of these scholarships are part of the financial aid package a student would receive if he or she were to attend Bradley University. The support our department continues to receive from industry reflects the degree of confidence and trust that the professional community has in CEC and its graduates.

Outreach Programs

The CEC Department leads the way in engaging with the community. The five student organizations serve as a vehicle for our students to develop as leaders while helping the community through Bridge Pals, building playgrounds and pocket parks, building tracks for athletics at area schools, Habitat for Humanity, Illinois River Sweep, Adopt-A-Highway, and many more. Faculty are also active in community service through volunteering as mentors at area schools, working with charitable organizations, and through major events like the Peoria Unity Luncheon organized by Dr. Al-Khafaji.

Senior Project

The CEC Department’s capstone senior project courses are unique. Each of the projects is real and students interact with professionals to learn how to design different elements, how to put everything together, and how to deal with unexpected complications that are highly likely in the real world. There are typically three separate projects for civil engineering students in structural engineering, transportation, environmental and one project for construction students.


Currently, placement for construction program graduates is 100% and placement for civil engineering students is more than 95%. At recent Bradley University Job fairs, there were more companies seeking CEC students than the number of students graduating. In fact, for 11 years leading up to the 2008 recession, the department had a 100% placement record. Following a dip in 2008, placement rebounded to near 100% in the next year. Even during the recession year, the CEC department, under the leadership of Dr. Al-Khafaji, undertook special actions to place most of its graduates in full-time or internship positions. This was possible because of strong ties with industry partners, who were willing to hire CEC graduates even when perhaps the market told them otherwise.

Global Explorer Program

Dr. Al-Khafaji created the Global Explorer Program in 1995. The CEC Department led Bradley University in offering the study-abroad program in the January interim, which was against conventional wisdom. However, the January interim was uniquely suited to CEC students because they would most likely have internships in summer, which prevented travel. Dr. Fuessle took the first group of students to London, UK. Since then, several Bradley faculty and hundreds of CEC students as well as students from other Bradley university units have visited various destinations including London, Paris, Denmark-Norway-Sweden, Egypt, Jordan, and Malta. Students describe GEP as a life-changing experience and employers are eager to recruit students who have exposure to international cultures and traditions. Faculty members get a deeper appreciation for other cultures and develop a deeper bond with students. The GEP provides international exposure for Bradley University in the process. It is a win-win situation for everyone.

Job Fair

The CEC Department was the only one on campus to have its own job fair for several years until 2011. This was developed as a response to requests from our industry partners to meet primarily with civil engineering and construction students. The university-wide job fair had a larger number of students from all disciplines and the employers felt they did not have enough time to interact with CEC students. As many 45 to 75 companies attended the CEC Job Fair each year it was held. The academic and professional preparation of our students, the CEC Department’s strong professional partnerships, and the success of our CEC alumni are amongst of the reasons for the industry’s continuing interest in our students.