Charles Gilman Hyde: Dean of sanitary engineering
California’s population was a mere 1.8 million residents in 1905, when Charles Gilman Hyde joined Berkeley’s civil engineering faculty. But he had the foresight to create environmental engineering practices that supported health and ecology, even as the state’s population soared. Known as the “Dean of Sanitary Engineering of the West,” Hyde — with the assistance of civil engineering professor and chemist Wilfred Langelier — developed Berkeley’s world-renowned sanitary engineering program, notable at the time for its science-based, practice-oriented curriculum. Hyde and Langelier also teamed up to pioneer numerous water treatment technologies, including controlled flocculation, that were later adopted by water treatment plants worldwide.
As a consulting engineer, Hyde was a major contributor to many of the state’s high-profile water projects — including wastewater treatment plans for EBMUD, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Clara and Orange counties — as well as international projects in Auckland, New Zealand, and Vancouver, Canada. Hyde also played a key leadership role in the formation of the Bureau of Sanitary Engineering in California’s Public Health Department.
When conferring an honorary doctor of laws degree upon Hyde, then-UC Berkeley President Robert Gordon Sproul said of his extraordinary influence, “The West is a fairer, sweeter land because of his concentrated work on its water.”