School of Chemical Engineering

The entire engineering cohort represented by alumni from all five Schools that existed in 1986, came together for a reunion on Friday 4th November 2016. UQ alumni reflected on the day...

The reunion was attended by graduates from the Schools of Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Metallurgical and Mining Engineering.

The reunion event which was a great success and attended by around 90 classmates, many travelling from interstate and some even from overseas. Six of the teaching staff from 1986 also attended the event which was organised by the following classmates:

Chemical: Leeanne Bond (née Remphrey) and Joanne Flint (née Lehane)

Civil: Paul Brady and Will Siganto

Electrical: Michael Rosenberg

Mechanical: Matthew Forrest and Bruce Wilson

Mining and Metallurgy: Carl Pritchard

The reunion was held at the campus and comprised tours of each of the current schools followed by barbeque held on the terrace of the impressive Advanced Engineering Building.

Prior to the reunion there was also a seminar considering the requirements and current challenges for students to undertake work experience as part of their degree qualification at The University of Queensland. Our thanks to Lara Pickering from the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology for her assistance in making this possible.

In conjunction with the reunion a booklet was produced by each of the five schools. These booklets contained biographies of many of the graduates who could attend the reunion, but also for a number who could not. These made for very interesting reading following the reunion with graduates being involved in a very wide range of careers and industries.

The tours of each of the departments were very interesting and the teaching of engineering has clearly changed significantly over the last 30 years. Our thanks to the heads and tour hosts from each of the schools for their excellent hospitality.

The School of Civil Engineering bears little resemblance to the 1980's in both structure and size.  Gone are the original "bunker" lecture theatres and adjacent laboratories and replaced by the aesthetically pleasing Advanced Engineering Building which now houses the School.  25 graduates of the CESA Class of '86 were shown around these luxurious new facilities as well as hearing how year sizes are now in the order of 250 plus.  Thanks to Professor Jose Torero for our guided tour.

On walking into the Chemical Engineering building, everyone remembered the original computer room and scrambling to complete computer assignments late into the night.  It was great to hear from Professor Halley about the plans for a new home for Chem Eng.

In Mechanical Engineering the teaching of practical aspects of engineering has advanced greatly with the use of electronics and computers for data capture. In spite of this there were reminders of the 1980s with work on the transonic wind tunnel still going strong. The tour lingered for a good while in the workshop where students were building what appeared to be real racing cars for a design project.

The mining old boys appreciated the opportunity to see the mining building one last time, especially since the building is soon to disappear as new facilities are on the drawing board. The tour was particularly interesting and it was good to see how the introduction of new computerised visualisation tools are being incorporated into the engineering program. As always the Miners were keen to be the first ones back to the barbeque and succeeded in their mission! 

The barbeque held after the tours was certainly in the spirit of the old times engineering ‘smokos’ with the beer flowing freely from early on. A few brief speeches were followed by a great chance to catch up with old friends and classmates and even meet a few who were less well known. The festivities moved to the Normanby Hotel where a private room had been booked with great foresight by Will Siganto and the ‘Civils’. This venue was host to all the Schools, including some partners who had clearly forgotten what an engineering social function entails! Festivities continued well into the early hours with reports of a number of sore heads the next day.

The Civil Engineers had a further reunion lunch the following day, appropriately at the Regatta hotel. The chemical engineers also continued reminiscing over lunch the following day, at an undisclosed location.

The Class of ‘86, across all engineering disciplines raised a total of $3,205 to help transform the UQ engineering experience for a number of our aspirational young people. This was done through a voluntary class Reunion Gift aimed at each of the respective School’s Priority Giving Funds to support current UQ Engineering students in taking up the opportunities including study abroad, professional development and research opportunities.

We would like to make a special acknowledgement to the lecturers and staff from the 1980s who also the reunion. These included Dr Derek Brady (Civil), Professor Paul Greenfield (Chem.) Dr Frank Grigg (Mech.), Professor David St John (Min and Met) and Professor Ted White (Chem.).

Finally, a special thanks to Sarah Calderwood and the team at the UQ Alumni Office without whom this reunion would not have occurred.

To view photos of the 30-year Engineering Reunion click here.