SWE Fellow; first woman to receive an engineering degree from Yale University
Born in 1929, Consuelo “Connie” Minnich Hauser, P.E., was a child of the Great Depression who excelled in math and science. Growing up in Norristown, Pennsylvania, she worked in architectural drafting over the summers during her high school years and graduated as class valedictorian.
Enrolled in the engineering program at the University of Illinois, where she was one of seven women, she completed her B.S. in civil engineering in 1951. Hauser continued her education at Yale University, where she earned her master’s in civil engineering in 1952, becoming the first woman to receive an engineering degree in the university’s history.
She married her college sweetheart, Ray Hauser, and the couple later moved to Colorado to enter doctoral programs in engineering at the University of Colorado. When Hauser applied to join SWE in 1956, her application indicated that she was a graduate student, wife, and mother with two children. She also had experience working in industry, having been a civil engineer at a consulting firm and a structural engineer with the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps, Aberdeen Proving Ground. As applications for membership at the time required references, Hauser’s references were two engineering professors. She was described as having “a broad educational background” and an “ambitious, scholarly attitude, professionally minded.”
Active in SWE, the camaraderie and purpose became an important part of her life. Hauser was the national public relations chair in 1963-64, and chair of the annual convention, held in Denver in 1976. She also served on the section level as president, council representative, and head of many committees. She was named a SWE Fellow in 1982.
A licensed professional engineer in Colorado, Hauser worked for the City of Denver, where she designed wastewater and flood management systems. She and her husband founded Hauser Research and Engineering Company, which became Hauser Laboratories. For 15 years, she was the chief civil engineer, leading engineering litigation and testing concrete, honeycomb, metals, and plastics. Over the course of her career, she also worked at Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin) in Denver as a structural analyst, and for the City of Longmont Water Division as a construction engineer. She retired in 1989.
In addition to SWE, Hauser was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the first woman to be inducted into the engineering honor society Chi Epsilon. She co-hosted the national convention for the American Council of Independent Laboratories in 1977. She also was the first woman to serve on the University of Illinois Civil Engineering Alumni Association Board of Directors. She published numerous technical papers and gave many talks to professional and student organizations.
An avid reader, lover of travel and the outdoors, Hauser wrote more than 50 travel journals. In her 50s, she took classes in advanced mathematics and Russian, and wrote plays. She took her children and grandchildren on visits to many national parks and on rock expeditions.
Hauser is survived by four children, 10 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Sources: SWE Archives, Daily Camera (https://bit.ly/3CT5dBh), Personal correspondence