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A tribute to Prof. Don Deere, 1922-2018

Prof. Don U. Deere died on 14 January 2018 in Gainsville, Florida. He was born in 1922, in Mt. Etna, Iowa. He was part of a small group of rock engineers that decisively influenced the development of rock mechanics in the 20th century.

Prof. Deere graduated in Mining Engineering at Iowa State University and obtained a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering at the University of Illinois in 1955. An expert on tunnelling, dam building and design, and the construction of large underground spaces, in 1989 he was appointed as Chairman of the US Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board. He received numerous distinctions throughout his career including being elected to both the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences.

After working as a mining engineer in Arizona and New Mexico, Don moved to the University of Puerto Rico and started the Foundation Engineering Company of Puerto Rico. In 1955 he accepted an appointment as an associate professor at the University of Illinois. In 1972 he moved to Gainesville where he co-founded Deere and Merritt, a consulting firm in geology and rock mechanics, and joined the University of Florida.

He wrote and co-authored numerous papers and was the inventor of the rock mass assessment tool, the RQD – Rock Quality Designation. Together with Prof. Giovanni Lombardi, he invented the GIN method of grouting. He was the President of the Commission on Standardization of Laboratory and Field Tests of the ISRM from 1968 to 1973.

At this time our thoughts are with his close family and friends.