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April 6, 2020

CEE Professor Emeritus William Boyle passes away

Written By: Alex Holloway

Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Emeritus William Boyle died April 1, 2020.

Boyle was born in Minneapolis in 1936. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil and environmental engineering at the University of Cincinnati in 1958 and 1960, respectively. Boyle earned a doctoral degree in civil and environmental engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1963. That same year, Boyle and his wife, Nancy, moved to Madison, where he began his long career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

For more than 30 years, Boyle served as a valued member of civil and engineering until his retirement in 1996 and is credited for helping to build UW-Madison’s environmental engineering program into one of the nation’s best. His tenure included two years as CEE’s department chair, from 1984-86.

Boyle researched a range of environmental engineering issues, including biological wastewater treatment, nitrogen removal processes for wastewater and oxygen transfer. His projects received funding from the National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Madison Metropolitan Sewer District.

Boyle mentored dozens of graduate students throughout his time at UW-Madison. He was known for teaching them through sound fundamental and applied research and for encouraging them to seek original, practical solutions to engineering challenges.

Working with his students, Boyle published 140 journal articles and conference proceedings publications. His research acumen was widely recognized, and he won a number of major engineering awards, including ones from the International Association on Water Pollution, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Water Pollution Control Federation and the American Academy of Environmental Engineerings.

Boyle married Nancy, his wife of 60 years, in April 1959. Together they had four children — Betsy, Michele, Jane and Bob — and 10 grandchildren.