LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas senior class has honored Matt O’Reilly, associate professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering, with the 2019 H.O.P.E. Award — to Honor an Outstanding Progressive Educator.
The H.O.P.E. Award is given annually through the Board of Class Officers and is the only honor given to a faculty member by the senior class. O’Reilly was announced as this year’s winner during the Oct. 5 football game against Oklahoma.
O’Reilly teaches civil engineering courses in the School of Engineering. “Dr. Matt” is described as an exemplary professor and a “genuinely good person” whose open-door office hours policy includes dropping whatever he’s doing to give a student his full attention.
In a nomination letter, a student described how O’Reilly drove to campus on a Saturday to explain a topic “because, as he put it, it was better expressed in person.”
Since 2011, O’Reilly has been a faculty member at KU, where he researches corrosion, durability of materials and bond strength of reinforcing steel. He advises students on the university’s concrete canoe team and Engineers Without Borders.
“I’m incredibly honored to receive the H.O.P.E Award,” O'Reilly said. “To have the students I’ve worked with come together and say that they appreciate what I do to this extent has left me awestruck and speechless. I’m grateful to all of them and am happy to continue teaching at KU.”
O’Reilly is a KU alumnus, having earned a master’s degree and doctorate in civil engineering from the School of Engineering.