Reflecting on 2016: Remembrance of Dmitri T Clemons
It has been almost three years since Ranjit Sahai, Chris Manalo and LJ Sauter of ASCE-NCS decided to have a new column in the monthly eNewsletter for students and practicing engineers. That was the beginning of “Dr. Z’s Corner” and the rest was history. As I reflect on 2016, we had some good and some sad news to report. On a personal note, I was pleased to receive another national award, this time from ASEE and the news of ASCE-Fellow. For the sad news, I will share with my readers a letter that I received from Cherod Gregory Hicks, President of ASCE Student Chapter at Morgan State University.
Remembrance of Dmitri
“My name is Cherod Hicks and over the past semester, I had the honor and privilege of serving as the President of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) at Morgan State University, located in Baltimore, MD. When I was nominated for the position, my first question was, “Who will be serving as my Vice President?” I understood then, as I understand now, without a strong support staff and executive committee, I would be unable to maintain a high standard of excellence that ASCE student chapters hold near and dear to the oldest engineering society in our nation’s history, founded in 1852. When I found out it would be Dmitri Clemons, I was excited and couldn’t wait for the fall 2016 semester to begin because I knew his work ethic was unparalleled amongst any student in the Department of Civil Engineering. We would bounce ideas off of one another and whenever I questioned my purpose in the field of civil engineering or wondered aloud if I could be successful, he always reassured me by letting me know that the only person that could stop me from achieving my goals was myself.
“Dmitri T Clemons was born in Silver Spring, MD on November 5, 1994 to Lynn Clemons. He was educated in the Montgomery County Public School system, where he graduated from Paint Branch High School in 2013. He was a member of the Varsity football team and he threw Shot Put for the track team. Dmitri was an avid reader and he loved working out. On any given day, you could find him running through campus or working out in the gym. Upon graduation, he attended Morgan State University, where he majored in Civil Engineering. In 2013 and 2014, he received a Certificate of Academic Excellence for making the Dean’s List with a 4.0 GPA. He was named Vice President of ASCE, Morgan State Chapter his Junior year and he continued in that role his senior year. He traveled to Philadelphia, PA for the Global Competitiveness Conference and he also traveled to Pittsburgh, PA and Boston, MA for the ASCE Conferences. In June of 2016, he was selected by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Emerging Leaders to represent Morgan State for the US-China Study Delegation. Along with being a member of ASCE, Dmitri was also an active member of the National Society of Black Engineers and the American Society of Highway Engineers.
“It is with sadness and a broken heart that Dmitri passed away on September 21, 2016 after working out. He had a near perfect GPA and his mother received his Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering posthumously on his behalf at the December 2016 Commencement. He is as missed today as he was the moment we found out he taken his last breath. It is incredibly sad that his life ended so prematurely when we all recognized that greatness had already tapped him as the next great leader in the field of Civil Engineering. He had aspirations of pursuing his PhD after graduation and was inspirational to his fellow classmates to pursue greater goals as well. He started a GRE study group and he was instrumental in informing us that he was attending Dr. Z’s pro-bono Saturday classes at UDC (University of the District of Columbia). I, Cherod Hicks, and Phine Ulysse attended our first class with Dr. Z today and it was one of our best academic experiences to date. It would not have been made possible without Dmitri taking those first steps when he attended those sessions during the summer of 2016 and showed us how much he was learning and technical application he was taking away from Dr. Z. If he were here, he would tell us to smile, suck it up, stop making excuses, and study. Even though he is gone, he will never be forgotten because we all carry a part of him along with us every step we take, especially as we matriculate through our careers and personal lives. Dmitri T Clemons, we miss you, we honor you through our actions, but most importantly, we love you! Rest in Peace Big Homie, God’s got you now.”
Cherod Gregory Hicks,
Morgan ’16, Civil Engineering
I would like to close with uplifting news. Starting next month, we will welcome two new contributors that will be helping us: Dr Lei Wang in Geotechnical and Dr Bryan Higgs in Transportation concentrations.
Until next time,
Ahmet Zeytinci, P.E.