Engineer and Architect Selected as 2008 Distinguished Alumnus
By Freelance Science Writer, David Sims
At a recent banquet held in his honor, professional engineer and registered architect Robert Tillotson (UNH ’77) was recognized as the 2008 College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS) Distinguished Alumnus.
Said Genise Bonacorsi, CEPS Alumni Society board member and 1994 UNH graduate, “Upon meeting Rob for the first time at the banquet, I knew we had made the right choice. He has given more back to the university than the knowledge he took away, and he was obviously very grateful and humbled by the award.”
Indeed, Tillotson noted, the recognition was a bolt out of the blue. “I was shocked, I didn’t even know they did this sort of thing, and I’m very honored.”
Tillotson graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1977 with a B.S. in civil engineering and is president and owner of Oak Point Associates, an engineering, architectural, and planning firm he founded in 1979 at age 25. Oak Point has offices in Portsmouth, NH and Biddeford, ME and a staff of 75, including civil, structural, mechanical, and electrical engineers.
At its inception, the firm provided civil engineering and surveying services, but over time developed into a full-service architecture and engineering concern – based in part on Tillotson’s unique status as both registered architect and professional engineer.
The Distinguished Alumnus Award is given annually by the CEPS Alumni Society for outstanding contribution to society in the field of engineering, science, or mathematics that has enhanced the image of the University of New Hampshire.
Tillotson has been a very active with UNH since the late 1980s when the university began a series of ongoing building projects. Most recently, Tillotson’s firm donated a large sum of money towards the renovation and expansion of Kingsbury Hall – home of CEPS.
Of the university’s proactive approach to upgrading campus facilities Tillotson said, “They’ve done a good job moving things forward. I think the university is putting itself in a good position for the next 50 years.”
Bob Henry, CEPS associate dean for academic affairs, notes that Tillotson has hired several CEPS students over the years to work at Oakpoint and has actively mentored UNH students. Moreover, although UNH has no architectural degree program, many students arrive with an interest in becoming architects. Said Henry, “Rob has been very helpful in providing information about how to advise these students.”
As both a registered architect and professional engineer Tillotson is able to approach building and design in a very integrated way, which is part and parcel of Oakpoint Associates.
Said Tillotson, “We have engineers from all the different disciplines working with architects on a daily basis in the same office, and that helps a great deal in coming up with an integrated design, which is the hallmark of the new green movement, sustainable architecture.”
Tillotson continues to serve as a mentor to UNH students and this fall will be a guest lecturer at CEPS to talk about various aspects of integrated design.
“There seems to be a lot of interest for civil and structural engineers in particular in sustainable design and architecture. As a registered architect and professional engineer, I can talk about the transition into architecture and how they complement each other,” he said.