In memoriam: Shinya Kikuchi, Charles E. Via Jr. Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
December 11, 2012
Shinya Kikuchi, Charles E. Via Jr. Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, died Dec. 7 after a battle with cancer. He was 69.
His research focused on transportation planning, urban transportation systems, traffic logistics and engineering, treatment of uncertainty and data, application of soft computing, and intelligent transportation systems. He worked and taught at Virginia Tech’s National Capital Region in Falls Church. Va., near Washington, D.C.
Kikuchi was raised in Kobe, Japan, and obtained both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Hokkaido University in Sapporo. In 1970 he went to the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied transportation systems engineering and earned a doctoral degree in 1974. He then began a career in industry with a consulting company in Seattle and then General Motors Co. in Detroit.
In 1982, Kikuchi turned his career toward academia and joined the University of Delaware as an assistant professor, where he stayed for 23 years. During that time, he taught courses and preformed research in the areas of urban transportation planning, public transportation systems, traffic engineering, and highway design and logistics. He was a member of the National Research Agency’s Transportation Research Board and several other professional societies.
He sponsored and advised a large number of international students, many of whom who have gone on to become leading professors and consultants in the United States, India, Japan, Serbia, and other countries. He published many papers and lectured widely at universities in Japan, Italy, Finland, and other countries.
In 2005, Kikuch joined the faculty at Virginia Tech and served as the program director for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in Falls Church, Va. He was a co-founder of the Annual Helsinki Summer School of Transportation at Aalto University in Finland, where he received an honorary doctoral degree in 2010. Kikuchi is being remembered for his legacy to his students, colleagues and family as an accomplished transportation expert, scientist, educator, and friend.
He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Laura, her extensive family in the United States, as well as several in-laws in Peru; siblings Mari Yamada and Rinya Kikuchi and their families in Japan. A viewing will be held at the Doherty Funeral Home, 3200 Limestone Rd., Pike Creek, Wilmington, Del., on Wednesday, Dec. 12 , from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. A Mass will be held at St. Barnabas Church, 2800 Duncan Rd., Wilmington, immediately following at 11 a.m.
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.