Dr. Tissa H. Illangasekere, Ph.D.

For his excellence as an internationally recognized researcher, academic, and engineer.

Professor Tissa H. Illangasekare is Awarded Lifetime Achievement for his significant scientific contributions to hydrology and environmental engineering. His research of over forty years has contributed to understanding many critical problems involving water, such as preservation, sustainability, and access. In addition to his study on mitigating climate change impacts due to global warming and alternative energy development, he has collaborated actively in many North American, European, and Asian countries.

Prof. Illangasekare is an internationally recognized academic researcher and engineer born in Kandy, Sri Lanka. His primary and secondary education was at St Anthony’s College. He received his Bachelor of Science (Honors) in civil engineering from the University of Ceylon and a Master of Engineering degree in hydrology and water resources development from the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Bangkok, Thailand. He worked on several water resources projects in Thailand, Nepal, and the Philippines. In 1978, he obtained his PhD in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, specializing in groundwater.

He is one of the first Sri Lankans to come to the USA for graduate studies and develop an academic career that has impacted thousands of students. He has mentored nearly forty PhD students, sixty M.S. thesis students, and twenty-five post-doctoral researchers from several countries. In addition, he has published almost 200 peer-reviewed articles, edited two books, and contributed 18 book chapters.

He has received numerous national and international awards from prof.l societies and organizations. Prof. Illangasekare received the 7th Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Groundwater Prize, one of the most prestigious awards for water research and the highest international honour in groundwater from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. In 2017, President Barack Obama appointed professor Illangasekare to the U.S. Nuclear waste Technical Review Board.

His early research in Colorado has been used in management models for several river basins in Colorado and has been used in dam safety analysis. His research on water infiltration in sub-freezing snow has led to developing models to predict meltwater generation in arctic glaciers, including Greenland. His fundamental research on the flow and entrapment behavior of organic chemical wastes, petroleum products, and mass transfer under both natural and remedial action has contributed to improving conceptual models, characterization methods, monitoring schemes, up-scaling methods, and remediation design. He has extended his research into CO2 sequestration and land-atmospheric interaction modeling.

In humanitarian engineering, he has worked on the contamination of coastal aquifers from the 2004 Sumatra tsunami and, more recently, on water quality implications in chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) in Sri Lanka, India, and South America.

Sri Lanka Foundation International would like to thank and acknowledge Prof. Illangasekare for his exceptional work on water and environmental engineering scientific research.