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Forty Years Later: The Kansas City Skywalk Tragedy

July 21, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Science Matters Lunch and Learn is presented in partnership with the Kansas City Public Library.

On July 17, 1981, two skywalks collapsed at the Hyatt Regency Kansas City Hotel during a tea dance that was being held in the lobby below. The tragedy ultimately killed 114 people, injured at least 216, and left the survivors and first responders with enduring trauma. This disaster was the deadliest structural collapse in U.S. history until the tragic events of the World Trade Centers in 2001. How could something like this happen? And as we witness the devastation at the Surfside condos collapse in Florida, what can be done to prevent structural failures like these in the future? Join us for this month’s Science Matters Lunch and Learn with Robynn Andracsek, P.E., who will discuss the Kansas City skywalk collapse, what went wrong, and what engineers can learn from this tragedy forty years later.

The speaker

Robynn Andracsek, P.E., is an associate environmental engineer from Burns & McDonnell in Kansas City, MO. She has 20 years of experience with specializations in air permitting and the utility industry. Robynn has a BS in mechanical engineering and a MS in environmental engineering, both from the University of Kansas, where she currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering. As a freelance writer and speaker, Robynn is a contributing editor to Power Engineering magazine and Engineering360 magazine. She has also volunteered for the Skywalk Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit that works to honor those who were lost in the skywalk collapse.

Accessing the Program

This free, online program will take place via Zoom. Registration is currently open and will remain open until the event has ended. Your link to join the program will be included in the confirmation email and on the confirmation screen after you complete your registration.

Click here to register

The Linda Hall Library encourages people of all backgrounds and abilities to enjoy our public programs. Closed captions are provided. If you require additional reasonable accommodations in order to participate, please contact events@lindahall.org or call 816.926.8753 at least 24 hours in advance of the program.

Once you register for this event, you will receive email communications from the Linda Hall Library and the Linda Hall Library Foundation. You may choose to opt out of these communications at any time. Your contact information will not be sold or provided to any third parties.

The program will also be livestreamed on the Library’s Facebook page.

This program is funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Its content is solely the responsibility of the Linda Hall Library.


July 21
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Category:




Linda Hall Library
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Questions? Contact Eric Ward at 816.926.8753 for more information about these events.

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