Mary Hurd

Honored by:Le Vern Faidley
Brick location:PAVER:40  map

Mary (Krumboltz) Hurd:

Mary (Krumboltz) Hurd was the second Iowa Alpha recipient of the Tau Beta Pi Women's Badge in 1946 and one of Iowa Alpha's first women to be accorded full Tau Beta Pi membership in 1970.

She recalled that her skills and interest in math and science, and a desire to be self-supporting, had brought her to Iowa State to study engineering. She ws the onle woman in her engineering classes. While a student, she served as editor of the "Alumnitems" magazine and in 1945 was elected editor of Iowa State's, "Iowa Engineer," the first woman to hold that position.

Following graduation with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1947, she learned that the American Concrete Institute in Detroit was looking for someone with an engineering degree and writing skills. With her editorial experience and engineering skills she seemed to be perfect for the position, except they did not want a woman. However, an ISU professor with connections to the American Concrete Institure intereceded on her behalf, and she got the job.

Over the next several years, she started a family, pursued graduate study and worked on municipal engineering and land surveying projects. In 1956, she became associate editor of the Journal of the American Concrete Institute, leaving that position three years later to become an independent engineering writer and consultant.

In the early 1960s, the American Concrete Institute determined that since no definitive work on concrete formwork existed in the United States, they would publish one. They requested that she prepare it. Her book, Framework for Concrete, was first published by the American Concrete Institute in 1963, and she has since revised six times. In all, the seven editions have sold more than 125,000 copies, and the book has grown from 350 to 500 pages It is used as a textbook at universities, colleges, and professional schools and as a reference book throughout the industry. It is widely known as "the green bible of the formwork industry," and has also been translated into several foreign languages.

In 1963, when the book was being published, she believed that it would be a disadvantage for the book to have a female name on it. Therefore, she used her initials "M.K." and the name of the author, M.K. Hurd, stayed that way through each revision. Only in recent years has it become generally known the author was a woman. She recalled that as a woman working in a predominantly male industry she felt obligated to do a better job than the typical man. In 2004, her success in this regard was attested to by Ward R. Malisch, senior managing director for the American Concrete Institute, who wrote: "Mary's Framework for Concrete is the most influential concrete formwork book ever written. Her knowledge of concrete construction is surpassed only by her ability to describe it lucidly, concisely, and in the most interesting fashion."

In 1976 she began working as an engineering writer and consultant, preparing technical reports and programs for companies and individuals. In 1981 she became the editor-in-chief of Concrete Construction and later served as the senior engineering editor. Her skills and determination served her well, and over the years she has conducted dozens of seminars and lectures, and published more than 230 journal articles.

She was a member of numerous societies and organizations, including the Society for Technical Communication, the American Society of Civil Engineers (Life member), and is a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute. In 2004 she became the first female recipient of the Marston Medal, the highest award bestowed by the ISU College of Engineering, which honors college alumni for outstanding achievement in engineering and is named for Anson Marston, Iowa State's first engineering dean. She also recieved the Henry C. Turner Medal from the American Concrete Institute and was recognized alongside Thomas Edison by the Engineering News Record as one of the construction industry's "top 125 people of the past 125 years."

In 2013 she was selected to receive the Alumni Merit Award by the ISU Alumni Association Club of Chicago. Unfortunately, Mary Hurd passed away September 27, 2013, just weeks before she was scheduled to receive this honor.

Paver Inscription:

"Iowa Alpha Chapter of Tau Beta Pi
Women's Badge Recipients:
Eloise Zimmerman '46 Arch E
Mary Hurd '47 Civil E
Jane Templeman '53 Arch
Judy May '58 Chem E
Karen Gray '60 Chem E
Idelle Peterson '60 Chem E
Beverly Audeh '61 Aero E
Mardith Baenziger '68 Arch E"