Sorber posthumously named president emeritus of UT Permian Basin

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The University of Texas System Board of Regents today approved the posthumous appointment of Charles A. Sorber, Ph.D., as president emeritus of UT Permian Basin. Sorber served as the fourth president of UT Permian Basin from 1993 to 2001. He passed away on October 18, 2013.

“Dr. Sorber was an incredible individual. He was one of those responsible for the success of creating UT Rio Grande Valley,” said UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. “When we needed an interim president for UT Pan American, I made a phone call and he said, ‘If you need me, I’ll be there.’ No hesitation; he moved himself and his family to help advance excellence in the Valley. So he really was an individual who would do anything for the University of Texas. This honor is well deserved.”

Sorber was professor emeritus in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at UT Austin. Among his previous faculty and administrative posts, he was dean of the School of Engineering at The University of Pittsburgh, associate dean of engineering in the College of Engineering at UT Austin  and vice chancellor for special engineering programs at the UT System. He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in sanitary engineering from Pennsylvania State University and held a doctorate in engineering from UT Austin.

Sorber began his professional career with the U.S. Army, serving in a number of positions in Europe with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command. His service earned him the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, as well as other honors. He returned to UT Austin in 2001, where he held a number of positions. He was interim president at UT Arlington from 2003 to 2004. In 2009, he was asked to come out of retirement to serve as interim president of UT Pan American.

Sorber was active in a wide range of professional activities. He served as chair or member of a number of engineering committees including the National Research Council, the Stockholm Water Symposium and the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges. He was named a Fellow in the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1991. Sorber also servedas president of the Water Environment Federation from 1992 to 1993.

He was a member of several honorary societies and received a number of awards for his teaching and professional services, including the Gordon Maskew Fair Award of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists and the William J. Orchard Medal of the Water Environment Federation. In addition, he was named Outstanding Engineering Alumnus of Pennsylvania State University and Distinguished Graduate of the College of Engineering at UT Austin.

He authored or co-authored more than 130 papers and reports in the areas of higher education, land application of wastewater, and wastewater reuse and disinfection.