Faculty Profile


  • Ph.D., Civil Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, 1983.
  • M.S.C.E., Structural Engineering, Stanford University, 1979.
  • B.S.C.E., Civil Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1978.

Dr. Roberto T. Leon received a B.S.C.E. degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1978, an M.S.C.E. from Stanford University in 1979, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1983. From 1983 to 1994 he was assistant and associate professor in the Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering at the University of Minnesota, and became professor in the School of Civil and Environmental  Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1995. He served as interim Chair of the School in 2002-2003. He currently serves as David H. Burrows Professor of Construction Engineering in the Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech.
Dr. Leon’s research interests center on dynamic behavior and design of composite and hybrid steelconcrete structures, composite action in beam-slab systems, bond of reinforcement under cyclic loads, testing of full-scale and model structures in the laboratory, and field instrumentation of structures. He has made original contributions in the areas of steel bolted connections, partially-restrained composite frames, composite joists, unreinforced masonry behavior, composite columns and innovative steel structural systems. Among the recognitions for his work are the Norman Medal in 2000, the State-of-the-Art Civil Engineering Award in 1996 and 2000, and Huber Prize in 1988 all from the American Society of Civil Engineers and the AISC T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award from the American Institute of Steel Construction in 1993.
Dr. Leon is extensively involved in technical committees, including leadership roles in the Building Seismic Safety Council Provisions Update Committee (BSSC/PUC), the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) TC-5 Composite Design, TC-9 Seismic Design, and the AISC Committee on Specification. He is/has been an active member of other technical committees of ASCE, ACI, EERI,
NEES, BSSC, CUREE and SSRC. He was chair of the Executive Committee of the Technical Activities Division of the Structural Engineering Institute (TAD/SEI), President of the Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering (CUREE), and President of the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEESinc); he curentl serves as president of the Board of Governors of the Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) of ASCE. He is a registered professional engineer in Minnesota, the co-author of a book on composite construction, a non-technical book on bridges and tunnels, and is the author and co-author of over 80 articles in refereed journals.


  • Behavior and design of steel and composite connections
  • Seismic design of steel-braced frames and frames with partially restrained connections
  • Seismic behavior of bridges
  • Serviceability of composite floors
  • High performance materials


  • ASCE Norman Medal, 2000.
  • ASCE State-of-the-Art Award 1996 and 2000.
  • Fellow, American Concrete Institute, 1999.
  • AISC T.R. Higgins Award.
  • ASCE E.E. Friedman Young Engineer Award.


  • Kim, U., Leon, R.T., and Galambos, T.V., 2009. 3-D nonlinear dynamic behavior of steel joist girder structures, Engineering Structures,Vol. 31, No. 1, p 268-274
  • Yang, C.-S., Leon, R.T., and DesRoches, R., 2008. Pushover Test and Analysis of a Braced Frame with Suspended Zipper Struts, ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering
  • Yang, C.-S., Leon, R.T., and DesRoches, R., 2008. Design and behavior of zipper-braced frames, Engineering Structures,Vol. 30, No. 4,April, 2008, p 1092-1100
  • Leon, R.T., Kim, D.K., and Hajjar, J.F, 2008. Limit state response of composite columns and beam-columns - Part 2: Application of design provisions for the 2005 AISC Specification,AISC Engineering Journal, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 21-46
  • Leon, R.T., 2008, Desarrollos Recientes en construcci
  • Educator's Session, NASCC, American Institute of Steel Construction, Nashville, April 2008
  • Keynote Lecture, 2nd International Conference on Advances in Structural Engineering Experimentation, Shanghai (PRC), December 2007
  • Keynote Lecture at 5th International Conference on Advances in Steel Structures, Singapore, December 2007
  • Keynote Lecture at 2nd Argentine Symposium on Steel Construction, Buenos Aires, September 2007
  • ASCE 2007 Structures Congress, Long Beach (CA), May 2007