Professor Agustin Ferrante passed away unexpectedly at his home in Vedano al Lambro, Italy, on June 13th, 2009. He leaves an immense void in his family and his wide circle of friends and colleagues. We will always remember him for his remarkable accomplishments as an engineer, a professor, and business entrepreneur. In particular, he will be deeply missed as a very dedicated husband, Father, and Grandfather. His warm personality, along with his excellence as a professional engineer and academic professor, has left an indelible mark on those that knew him. In his memory, a brief overview of his life and many achievements follows.
Agustin Juan Ferrante was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on October 14th, 1938; son of Italian immigrants living in a working class neighborhood. He excelled early in his studies and went on to obtain an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Buenos Aires, where he distinguished himself as a young engineer. Based on his bright prospects, he obtained a scholarship to pursue a Master degree in civil engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1964, which turned into a doctorate degree as he developed novel research in computational structural methods. The connections he made and the experience gained during this period significantly shaped the rest of his career, including lifelong friendships with several outstanding engineers and a commitment to learning and teaching state-of-the-art structural analysis.
On return to Argentina, he accepted a position as a professor in the Computational Center of the Department of Engineering at the University of Buenos Aires. From there, he began a long career as a leading academic professor in Brazil, where he was instrumental in developing and managing high-caliber graduate programs. Furthermore, he established strong links between academia and industry, as he pursued the strengthening of applied research programs. In particular, his involvement with the Graduate Engineering Project Coordination (COPPE) center (via the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, UFRJ) and the Brazilian multinational energy company PETROBRAS resulted in significant contributions in the area of advanced structural analysis in offshore engineering applications throughout the end of the 1970s and the 1980s.
After this period, Prof. Ferrante moved to Italy, where he translated his recognized analytical expertise into a consulting appointment as the director and senior engineer of ISC International, STRUDL Europe Srl, and STRUDL (UK) Limited. In this capacity, he successfully performed a wide range of structural analyses in various applications throughout the world. In his long career, Prof. Ferrante always maintained an unwavering dedication to the field of structural engineering, to the fostering of his multiple professional relationships, and the developmental support of engineers (particularly, the younger generation). He is survived by his wife Dorinda Ferrante Brenlla, Dr. Fernando Ferrante (son), Dr. Elisa Ferrante (daughter), and granddaughters Anna Maria Ferrante and Sofia Ferrante.
A personal note by Carlos A. Brebbia, Director of Wessex Institute of Technology, UK
Although we were both originally from Argentina, Agustin and I first met at MIT when we were research students and since then, we remained in contact throughout our academic and professional lives. Furthermore, our family lives developed in parallel and we remained close friends.
He was an outstanding researcher, as well as a very able professional engineer. I had the pleasure of co-authoring a series of papers and books with him, as well as organising important conferences all over the world together.
Agustin influenced my life and helped me to develop my research as well as that of my Institute. He opened the door for me in several latinamerican countries, specially Brazil as well as in Italy, which led to a broadening of our activities.
For me, it was always a source of great pleasure to meet up with Agustin. He had an honesty in his personal as well as his professional life, which is difficult to match. In addition, he was a warm and true friend, on whom you could always depend. He was what in Argentina is called “un hombre gaucho”, a saying that is associated with being straight and generous, an ideal friend.