Curriculum Vitae of Robert W. Fitzgerald
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Professor Robert W. Fitzgerald has been active in the construction industry for over fifty years. Two distinct paths of specialty have been combined during his professional career. One involves the process of building design and construction. The second is the analysis and design for fire safety performance.
After graduating with a B.S. in Civil Engineering from WPI in 1953 and being released from active military service, Professor Fitzgerald was employed as a structural engineer. In 1958, his career direction changed from engineering practice to engineering teaching. Continuing education resulted in a MS in Civil Engineering in 1960 and a Ph.D. in Structural Engineering in 1969. Remaining active in the US Navy Reserve, he retired with the rank of Commander, Civil Engineer Corps. His teaching and studies have focused on building design and construction. A textbook, Mechanics of Materials, and extensive classroom documents have been developed over the years. Teaching has involved a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in engineering mechanics, structural analysis and design, construction materials, construction management, and real estate development. Serving six years as Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at WPI, Professor Fitzgerald stepped down to assume full time faculty status, dividing his time between civil engineering and fire protection engineering.
In 1970, Professor Fitzgerald began to examine systems building, building codes, and fire protection. This initial interest evolved into a research focus of actively incorporating fire safety engineering into the total design process. He has participated with many other individuals in the development of an engineering method for fire safety analysis and design. Teaching and research in fire safety engineering has been directed primarily toward translating research into practical engineering tools of practice. During this time, Professor Fitzgerald participated in the founding and as a faculty member of the graduate program in fire protection engineering at WPI. In 2004, he published a textbook, Building Fire Performance Analysis, with John Wiley & Sons. Since being appointed a Professor Emeritus in 2004, Professor Fitzgerald continues to be active in both fire safety and building engineering.