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Distinguished graduates

The School has produced many engineers, who have had distinguished careers in consulting, contracting or the academic world. Some of these distinguished graduates are mentioned below.

  • John Burland became Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at the Imperial College, London and lead the international consulting team that stabilized the leaning tower of Pisa. He is one of the few engineers to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS).
  • Oskar Steffen founded the international geotechnical consulting firm of SRK Consulting, who have offices on six continents (Africa, North and South America, Asia, Australia and Europe). His partners, Andy Robertson and Hendrik Kirsten are also graduates of the Department.
  • Lewis Wolpert graduated in Civil Engineering, but then proceeded to study biology at Imperial College, becoming Professor of Biology Applied to Medicine at University College, London. He was also a FRS and a distinguished popular science lecturer and writer.
  • Jack Zunz led the team that did the extremely difficult structural design and construction of the Sydney Opera House and was knighted for his services to structural engineering.
  • Michael Bear was elected by the Court of Alderman as Lord Mayor of London for 2010 to 2011.
  • Another graduate, Rob Pullen, has been a long-serving President of the Engineering Council for South Africa (E.C.S.A.).
  • Nico Stutterheim completed a DSc(Eng) (in the days when a DSc(Eng) equated to today's PhD) in concrete technology. He went on to become President of the CSIR and later, a distinguished industrialist.

Our Professors

Nearer to home, five Professors of the Department have been Presidents of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (S.A.I.C.E.):

  • Jere Jennings
  • Alan Ockleston
  • ]Des Midgley
  • Ivan Schwartz
  • Alan Kemp

Outstanding achievers in sport

  • Dave Levick, the youngest person to win the Comrades marathon. (He was a second year student at the time.)
  • George Mallory, the first South African to summit Mount Everest (in the footsteps of his grandfather, of the same name, who was last seen alive a few hundred metres from the summit, in 1924).
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