Dr. Jagdish Narain (1926-2012) was a true Thomsonian having passed B.E. (Civil) in 1948, in the first batch in University of Roorkee. He received Masters in Science and Ph.D. degrees with distinction from Purdue University, USA, in 1952 and 1962 respectively. In 1985, he was conferred Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Hon. Causa) by University of Roorkee.
Dr. Narain joined as lecturer at University of Roorkee in 1953 and rendered meritorious service in engineering education for over three decades. He taught courses at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and modernised laboratory facilities for research, particularly in the upcoming field of geotechnical engineering. He held the esteemed positions of Vice Chancellor of University of Roorkee and Director, Water Resources Development Training Centre, between 1977 and 1982. Later, during 1983-88, as Secretary of the Association of Indian Universities, he gave dynamic leadership to A.I.U. by the construction of its headquarters building, and boosting up all-India universities activities.
His career includes working as a consultant to Indian and international bodies, and proving to be a think-tank to various consultancy firms, notably his keen interest in training serving engineers in computer applications in engineering design and management projects. He was a World Bank consultant for water and land management institute. His administrative and technical acumen helped A.I.C.T.E., USAID and UNDP in the satisfactory completion of their projects.
Dr. Narain undertook several assignments in USA, Latin America and the Middle East on earth and rockfill dams and flood-control projects during his association with TAMS Consultants, New York, between 1969 and 1977. He has made valuable contributions to the development of basic concepts on the behaviour of clays and reinforced earth.
In recognition of his contributions in the field of civil engineering, Dr. Narain has been honoured with several awards, prizes and fellowships which include the National Design Award of the Institution of Engineers (India) and Norman Gold Medal of the American Society of Civil Engineers for his research paper on Flexibility of Compacted Clay and Cracking of Earth Dams etc. In 2007, the Indian Institute of Technology – Roorkee honoured Dr. Jagdish Narain with the Distinguished Alumnus Award.
He was elected President of the Indian Geotechnical Society in 1979 and was Vice Chancellor of University of Roorkee from 1977 to 1982.
Dr. Jagdish Narain passed away on January 5, 2012.