Only ten engineering students were permitted to leave China in 1947, and David Liu was among them. He worked his way through graduate school at Oregon State University, graduating with his Master of Science in 1950. A licensed civil engineer in many states, he was a pioneer in geotechnical engineering in the US.
David Liu was a partner in the firm of Dames & Moore, the state’s first geotechnical engineering firm, where he developed systems for building on O‘ahu’s coral formations. Such Hawai‘i landmarks as the Ala Moana Hotel, Ala Moana Shopping Center, the Ilikai Hotel, and the UH Mānoa engineering building bear his imprint.
May Liu assisted David in establishing the Dames & Moore Honolulu office, and mentored many US and overseas students in Hawai‘i, Illinois, and Japan. Growing up in traditional Singapore, she wasn’t permitted to go to school, so she understands the value of education. The Lius have two sons, both of them engineers.
Now, as an expression of the importance higher education has played in the Liu family, the David C. and May T. Liu Civil Engineering Fellowship will help civil engineering graduate students focusing on geotechnical engineering to develop strong technical and managerial skills.
Students who demonstrate leadership potential and great promise for the civil engineering profession will be connected even more strongly to the Liu family, whose imprint on Hawai‘i’s landscape is visible in every direction.