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Paul Fazio: a visionary in building engineering

Community on campus and beyond mourns loss of a great leader
October 1, 2014

Professor Paul Fazio with student Sara Wyss working on the IGLOO project in 2010. | Concordia University. Professor Paul Fazio with student Sara Wyss working on the IGLOO project in 2010. | Concordia University.


Paul Fazio, a pioneer at Concordia University and in the field of building engineering, passed away on Sunday, September 28. He was seventy-five years of age.

Fazio’s contributions to Concordia and to the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science are so numerous as to be almost incalculable. He became a professor with the university in 1967 and forged a brilliant teaching, research and leadership career. Under his expert guidance, Concordia became the first Canadian university to establish an accredited program in building engineering at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Fazio created the Centre for Building Studies in 1977, and was its leader until 1997.

To this day, Concordia remains a leader in building engineering. One of Fazio’s many legacies is helping secure funding for the Solar Simulator-Environmental Chamber, a state-the-art research facility housed in the basement of the Hall Building, which will be renamed in his honour at the end of October.

Fazio’s numerous colleagues remember a man who was totally dedicated to excellence and to the flourishing of his field.

“He was a visionary,” says Radu Zmeureanu, associate dean, student academic services. “He developed from scratch a new engineering program, still unique in Canada, with the hope of creating a critical mass of professors and researchers that would enhance the quality of the building industry in Canada, and especially in Quebec. Dr. Fazio’s memory will be forever with us. May he rest in peace.”

Paul Fazio and Andreas Athienitis put their heads together in 2010. | Concordia University Paul Fazio and Andreas Athienitis put their heads together in 2010. | Concordia University

For his outstanding contributions to his field, Fazio was awarded and recognized numerous times. He was the recipient of the Galbraith Prize and Gzowski Medal. He was named a Member of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineering.

Personally, Fazio was extremely generous toward the university — and especially the students — that he so greatly cherished. Through past contributions and a recent major gift, Fazio established an endowment fund close to $400,000. This endowment will yield a total of eight renewable scholarships of $2,000 each per year, for Concordia undergraduate students entering building engineering.

Colleague Andreas Athienitis, professor in the Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Hydro-Québec Industrial Research Chair in High Performance Buildings, first met Fazio in 1987. He says, “Paul has been an inspiration to me, my colleagues and his students. His commitment is perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that he actually attended the department meeting just a few days ago, although very frail and weak, and met his students as well.”

Fazio leaves behind a loving family – wife, Lucy, and three children: Mark, Teena and Luke.

Visitation will take place on Friday, October 3, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Rideau Funeral Home (4275 Boul. Des Sources, DDO). A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 4, 2014 at St. Edward the Confessor Mission (98 Aurora Avenue, Pointe Claire, Quebec, H9R 3G7) followed immediately by a luncheon Reception at Beaconsfield Golf Course (49 Golf Avenue, Beaconsfield, Quebec, H9S 4N6).

In lieu of flowers and in keeping with Paul’s wishes, Memorial donations can be made to the Professor Fazio Award Endowment at Concordia University which serves to benefit distinguished undergraduates in Building Engineering. Cheques should be made payable to Concordia University and may be mailed to: Sarah Kenny, Advancement and Alumni Relations, Concordia University, 1455 de Maisoneuve Blvd W, FB520, Montreal QC, H3G 1M8. Alternatively, donations may be made online. Give now by entering “Paul Fazio Awards Endowment” in the “specific scholarship/fund” field.

Concordia’s flag will be lowered to half-mast from Saturday, October 4 and Sunday, October 5 in honour of Paul Fazio’s memory.


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