Academy of Distinguished Alumni
Charles Gilman Hyde Hon. LLD
Inducted to the Academy of Distinguished Alumni on
Professor Charles Gilman Hyde was widely known as an educator, scholar, consulting engineer, and statesman. He was born in Yantic, Connecticut in 1874 and received a B.S. degree in Sanitary Engineering from MIT in 1896. He worked briefly for the Massachusetts State Board of Health and in Pennsylvania before joining the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley in 1905 where he established the first sanitary engineering university program in the Western U.S. With the exception of service as a Major in the US Army Sanitary Corps in 1918 and 1919, he served on the engineering faculty at Berkeley until he became emeritus in 1944. Following retirement, he remained active as a consulting engineer and was engaged in major water and wastewater projects the world over up until only a few years prior to his death in 1971 at the age of 97.
Professor Hyde’s professional contributions were so numerous, original, and distinguished that he became widely known as the “Dean of Sanitary Engineering of the West”. He was an inspiring teacher whose interest in the personal and professional welfare of his students was truly distinguished. He served two years as Dean of Men (1926-28). His graduates, who were affectionately called “His Boys”, often shared his home, gaining insights into his principles and high level of personal and professional dedication. In 1916, he had the foresight to attract Professor Wilfred Langelier, a distinguished young physical chemist, to join him in forming a team at Berkeley that was the pioneer for today’s science-based, practice-oriented environmental engineering academic programs.
Professor Hyde took a leadership role in forming a Bureau of Sanitary Engineering in the State of California Department of Public Health and he consulted on many of California's major water projects. These included selection of the water supply source and design of the first water treatment plant for Sacramento and the development of plans for treatment and disposal of wastewaters from the East Bay cities (now EBMUD), San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and the counties of Santa Clara and Orange. Amongst his many honors, he was made an Honorary Life Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1951. In 1944, University President Robert Gordon Sproul conferred an honorary doctor of laws degree on Professor Hyde, stating “…The West is a fairer, sweeter land because of his concentrated work on its water".
His extensive humanitarian service included more than twenty years on the executive councils of the Boy Scouts of America, the Red Cross, and the Berkeley YMCA.