Remembering Prof. Alberto S. Nieto



Professor Emeritus Alberto S. Nieto, 83, passed away Aug. 30, 2021 at his home in Champaign.  Alberto taught Engineering Geology in the department for 25 years and retired in 1999.


Prof. Nieto was born in Tacna, Peru, but he left South America to earn his M.S. at Washington University in St. Louis.  He then came to Illinois for his Ph.D. in Geology.  When he completed his degree in 1974, he stayed to teach in both Geology and Civil Engineering.  His work ranged widely across engineering geology and geotechnical engineering and included slope stability, mechanical properties of soil and rock, and coal mine-related land subsidence.  Dr. Todd Cole (B.S. ’93 Geology; Ph.D. ’08 Civil Engineering), a former graduate student under Prof. Nieto, remembered, “He was my advisor and mentor. He was also a very good friend.  He had a very charming and disarming personality; this would aid in gaining access to a quarry or outcrop during field trips… There are many words to describe Alberto, but dull would never be one.”  Prof. Emeritus Steve Marshak recalled his former colleague: “Alberto was a kind and thoughtful man who respected integrity, candor, and modesty.  I always enjoyed chatting with him about geology, Peru, and many other topics.  His many positive contributions to the department—as a geoscientist and as a colleague—will be remembered fondly.”