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Distinguished Graduate: Howard E. Nolan


nolanHoward E. Nolan, BSAE '57. Originally from Dayton, Howard Nolan’s career began when he received his Bachelor of Science degree in architectural engineering from Ohio University in 1957. As a student in the College of Engineering in the 1950s (the only African American student in the college at the time) he received some advice he’s always followed. “Dean E.J. Taylor challenged me either to be a superior engineer or face the fact that I wouldn’t gain acceptance in the field,” Howard recalled. He took up the challenge and in his 40-year career, he has climbed to the top of his profession.

Called to active duty in the United States Air Force in 1958, Nolan spent three years constructing and renovating air fields and base support facilities in Japan, Iwo Jima and Arkansas. Upon discharge, Nolan returned to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) as a bridge design engineer. With ODOT, he was involved in some of the most mammoth construction jobs of the century, the building of the interstate highway system. Nolan rose to the post of assistant director of ODOT.

He began a new career in the private sector in 1963 . He established Nolan and Associates Engineers and Planners in Columbus, Ohio. Winning his first major project (an MRI facility for Ohio State University Hospitals) led to the founding of Moody/Nolan Ltd. Architects and Engineers. Today, the company is the fourth largest firm of its kind in central Ohio, and the largest African-American owned firm in the country, with offices in Columbus, Cincinnati, Nashville and Orlando.

Visitors to the Ohio University campus can view some of the firm’s work in the renovation of Copeland Hall and the construction of the new baseball field, as well as part of the widening of U.S. Rt. 50 between Marietta and Athens. Those in Columbus may recognize Moody/Nolan work in the new cancer facility at Riverside Hospital, the Delta and USAir wings at Port Columbus Airport and the Schottenstein Arena.

Howard is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, Ohio Society of Professional Engineers, and the Society of American Military Engineers. As a student, Howard was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, participated in ROTC and was a political activist. He has been a member of the Ohio University Board of Trustees and the Department of Civil Engineering’s Advisory board. He received the Ohio University Alumni Association’s Medal of Merit in 1998. He is currently a member of the College Board of Visitors and has established a scholarship. Howard and his wife, Trudy, are the parents of one daughter.


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