The Department of Commerce has awarded the Department of Commerce Gold Medal to Frank Lombardo, research assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The gold medal is the highest honorary award granted by the Secretary of Commerce.


Frank Lombardo

The medal is awarded for distinguished performance characterized by extraordinary, notable, or prestigious contributions that impact the mission of the department in the United States and throughout the world. Lombardo was cited for his work on the study of building performance, warnings, and human behavior in the investigation of the 2011 Joplin, Mo., tornado. The award was presented at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in January.

Chris Letchford, department head, congratulated Lombardo on the achievement. “The Civil and Environmental 
Engineering Department is delighted to have had Dr. Frank Lombardo working with us over the last two years and the DoC Gold Medal is a singular honor for him,” Letchford said. “Dr. Lombardo has been active in teaching, advising graduate students, and overseeing the hazards research in the department.”

Lombardo’s research is focused on understanding natural hazards and their impacts by bridging the gap between the physical sciences and engineering practice. He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Tri-State (now Trine) University and a doctoral degree in wind science and engineering from Texas Tech University. Before joining Rensselaer, Lombardo was a National Research Council postdoctoral research associate at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md.