Farewell founding fathers

The Engineering Faculty said goodbye to six staff members this year, some of whom were described as founding fathers of the faculty.

Hosting a lunch for the retirees, acting Dean of Engineering Prof Mellet Moll spoke warmly about his colleagues, praising not only their work ethic and research capacity but also their ability to bring humanity to their teaching process.

“In academia we see how people reach their prime at an advanced point in their career,” said Moll, pointing out that CPUT loses almost 150 years of experience in one go.

While retiring head of the Chemical Engineering Department Prof Daniel Ikhu-Omoregbe has only been at CPUT for ten years, Moll pointed out the department has under his leadership become the biggest contributor to research papers in the faculty despite having no research centres.

Ikhu-Omoregbe said he is glad to have achieved one of the goals he set himself over the past decade which was to leave a visible presence of Chemical Engineering at CPUT in the form of the new building on the Bellville campus.

Moll described Prof Rainer Haldenwang, retired head of the Flow Process and Rheology Centre, as a calming influence who over the years became one of the world’s leading authorities in the field of rheology.

Director of the Centre for Mechanics and Technology and a recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Scholarship, Prof Bohua Sun, said one of the best parts of having worked at CPUT since 1995 was the freedom to study what he wanted to explore. Sun most recently published a paper exploring the three-body problem from the perspective of dimensional analysis in academic journal Science China Physics, Mechanics & Astronomy.

Head of Programme: Surveying, Jacobus Raubenheimer, who collected a Long Service Award for 40 years at CPUT earlier this year, said being part of the development of education in the engineering field was just one of the many positive features of his career: “Your colleagues are a highlight because they make your life easier,” said Raubenheim.

Prof Alvin Lagardien, founder of the Centre for Water Supply and Sanitation Research, was unable to attend the farewell lunch but was fondly mentioned by all attendees. Head of the Civil Engineering & Surveying Department Aashadia Kamalie, mentioned how proud the entire faculty was of Lagardien’s work in the field of water sanitation: “He has been key in the relationship building between CPUT and other institutions,” said Kamalie.

Also honoured at the retirement lunch was Prof Anthony Staak. While Staak is Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning he noted that his heart will always be in engineering.

“When I think of the university’s vision to be at the heart of technology education and innovation in Africa, for me that’s engineering at CPUT. I was fortunate to also study at MIT and 50% of their students are engineers. I would like the day to come when 50% of the students here are engineers,” said Staak.


Written by Theresa Smith