Engineering at Nebraska, Spring 2007
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front and center:
Alumnus Leaves College $1 Million:

E.L. "Roy" Hohnstein
E.L. "Roy" Hohnstein
Courtesy photo

Nebraska native E.L. “Roy” Hohnstein is remembered as an expert civil engineer who served HWS Consulting Group for 50 years.

Hohnstein believed civil engineering projects should always be tackled the right way rather than cutting corners. This is one reason he’s remembered by his colleagues as being the epitome of an engineer, one who is highly ethical and has mastered longstanding principles.

Admiring his father’s profession as a civil engineer for Burlington Northern, Hohnstein chose to study civil engineering at the University of Nebraska, graduating in 1951. He dedicated much of his career to HWS Consulting Group, a civil engineering firm based in Lincoln, where he worked 50 years and became widely known in the professional circle for his expertise in hydrology and flood control engineering, useful in designing municipal storm drainage systems and detention basins.

During his tenure there, he worked on projects in 19 states. One project in particular involved his alma mater by studying how to position the 140,000 square-foot George W. Beadle Center on the eastern edge of UNL’s City Campus to avoid any possible flooding from nearby Antelope Creek. Other notable Nebraska projects included designing a storm water detention cell for Grand Island and the challenging Rawhide Creek flood control project north of Fremont.

“He had all the credentials necessary to perform with high skill on a variety of projects,” said Jim Linderholm, chairman of HWS Consulting Group and Hohnstein’s colleague. “He will always be remembered for his dedication, as he was a person who could always be counted on to perform at high levels.”

When Hohnstein died in 2006 at age 78, he provided a $1 million bequest in his will for the benefit of the College of Engineering. The gift made to the University of Nebraska Foundation from his estate establishes a fund to support the greatest needs of the college.

“It is an honor to accept this gift from our alumnus Roy Hohnstein,” said David Allen, dean of the college. “Options for its use are being carefully considered, and it is exciting to realize its implications for students and to see ways in which it will help advance the college.”

After graduating from the university, Hohnstein pursued postgraduate courses at the universities of Colorado, California, Wisconsin and Iowa State before serving the U.S. Navy as a motor machinist. He then worked a year with the CB&Q Railroad Co. before going to HWS.

Hohnstein was born in Lincoln in 1927 to Henry and Pauline Hock Hohnstein and graduated from Lincoln High School. Besides engineering, he was an avid sailor, cyclist and bodybuilder with a passion for ballroom dancing.

Linderholm said all who had the privilege to know Hohnstein are pleased he remembered the university. “The University of Nebraska was his start of a long and admirable career,” he said.

-Robb Crouch, NU Foundation