The PRI family recently lost one of our own, Dr. Misganaw (known to many as Mike) Demissie, who made a positive difference worldwide through his work and made a lasting impression on the legacy of the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS).
Demissie joined the Illinois State Water Survey in 1973 as a graduate research assistant. His research focused on watershed science with an emphasis on erosion, sedimentation and watershed hydrology, and for more than 40 years he led major research programs and rose to the rank of Principal Scientist. In 2009, he became the ninth director of the Illinois State Water Survey, and the survey’s first African-American director since its founding in 1895. He also served as the first State Hydrologist from 2013 until he retired in 2016.
Demissie was a decorated and renowned expert in his research, often called upon to provide expert testimony, served on numerous professional committees, and provided his extensive river hydraulics and sediment transport expertise to federal, state, regional, and local organizations addressing water resource issues. His expertise was also sought by international workshops in countries such as Burkina Faso, Thailand, China, Brazil, Scotland, and South Korea.
Throughout his career, he supervised and mentored dozens of scientists, with international reach and impact. He was a registered Professional Engineer, Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and Diplomat of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, the American Geophysical Union, the International Water Resources Association, and the International Association of Hydrological Sciences. He also served as co-Editor-in-Chief of Water International, the official journal of the International Water Resources Association
Demissie was an outstanding professional and friend. He will be greatly missed by all.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Nature Conservancy or Doctors Without Borders. Obituary can be found at: https://www.morganmemorialhome.com/