Charles Fairhurst, Officer de Légion d'Honneur

In a ceremony at the Mineralogical Museum at Ecole de Mines in Paris, Charles Fairhurst, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering, received the highest national decoration awarded in France. Fairhurst was inducted as an Officer into the French National Order of the Legion of Honor (Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur) by decree of the President of the French Republic.

The Ceremony began with remarks by Dr. Loren Lorig, Chief Executive Officer of Itasca International Inc., a geoengineering consulting company which Fairhurst and his colleagues started over 30 years ago. Lorig began with these remarks: “Anyone who knows Charles is aware of his affection for France and his respect for French scholarship, including rock mechanics and rock engineering. He has been associated with a wide variety of academic, scientific advisory and consulting activities with French colleagues and groups both in France and internationally, extending over almost sixty years. ‘Such interactions,’ he has said, ‘were their own reward. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I might receive such a high honor. It is a gesture of remarkable generosity on the part of colleagues and a country that I respect and admire. I will strive to be worthy of it.’ ”

French speakers included M. Romain Soubeyron, Director of Ecole des Mines de Paris, and M. Edouard Brézin, Former President of the French Academy of Sciences. Also present were Steven L. Crouch, CEGE Professor and Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, members of the Fairhurst family, and many dignitaries and admirers.

The French Medal of Honor rewards outstanding merits of citizens in all areas. Fairhurst was selected for this honor based on his personal commitment to French-American relations, his exceptional cooperation with French companies, and his contributions to many public-private partnerships in the field of rock mechanics, which he studied and taught at the University of Minnesota.

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