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A Sampler from the Work of Duane Ellifritt

The body of work that Duane Ellifritt, Ph.D., P.E., and Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at the Univeristy of Florida, has produced is both extensive and varied. As a supplement the article published in the October 2011 issue of MSC (”Creating Art in Unlikely Places,” available at, we offer the following collection. Although it represents only a small sampling of his work, hyperlinks that provide many more examples are included throughout.



Duane Ellifritt is among a very small number of people around the world who carry on the art of fore-edge painting. One section on his personal website, (see Special Interests), describes how he became interested in this art form and shows several examples of his own work. Here are a few additional photos on this topic.


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Ellifritt’s fore-edge painting on this copy of the Hopper biography becomes visible only when the pages are fanned.



Another example of Ellifritt’s work in a device that he built to hold the pages in the proper fanned position for fore-edge painting.



Another example of Ellifritt’s fore-edge painting.



Since his graduate school days, Ellifritt has been painting with watercolors. “I believe that watercolor is the perfect medium for an engineer,” he wrote on his website, “Executing a painting or designing and building a structure both require careful planning, good timing and rapid execution.”


Ellifritt’s website also includes a more extensive gallery of his watercolor paintings; here are three samples.



His Place in the Sun, by Duane Ellifritt.



Live Oak at Payne’s Prairie, by Duane Ellifritt.



Street in Provence, by Duane Ellifritt.




Ellifritt grew up in a time, a place and an environment that most people today have never experienced. The thoughtful reflections on his early days expressed in his writings are both instructive and interesting. One entitled “Baseball Crazy in Doddridge County” appeared in the summer 2011 issue of Goldenseal, the magazine of West Virginia traditional life. You can read a portion of the article (including a 1952 photo of Ellifritt at bat)


You can read a few of his short essays on his website, In addition, we present here his previously unpublished essay “Climbing the Logarithmic Ladder.”


DR. JOHN LOMBARI, EX-PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA and my former boss, is a man I always admired. He was skillful in his interactions with politicians, alumni, faculty and students, was very approachable, could always be seen at most Gator athletic events, played in the alumni band at Homecoming and drove an old red pick-up truck. He could expound extemporaneously on a variety of subjects and was always enthusiastic and entertaining. In short, he was ideally suited to be a university president. Read more …




Now in place on college campuses around the world, the AISC Steel Sculpture was originally conceived as a teaching tool by Duane Ellifritt. The AISC website shows more than 135 registered installations as of September 2011. The first Steel Sculpture, erected in 1986 on the University of Florida campus, celebrates its 25th anniversary on October 29, 2011.


You can view photos of steel sculptures from many schools online by visiting, where you can also download the “Steel Connections Toolkit” which includes plans for the Steel Sculpture.



Ellifritt with students by the original Steel Sculpture on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville.


To read the article on Ellifritt in the October 2011 issue of MSC, click here. [PENDING RECEIPT OF URL FOR PDF]


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