I doubt if very many
of you have ever even heard of George Ford. He was a great tower of
strength in the Engineering Faculty at the University of Alberta where I
graduated in 1963. Since some people monitoring the list may have
also known him I will pass on the information.
Dr. Ford stood up for
the students. He was known, on occasion, for even going down to the
police station to bail out engineering students who carried their celebrations
(or sorrows) too far. He was also known for "getting rid of" professors
from support faculties such as economics or math if they didn't take the
teaching of engineering students seriously enough. He was also known for
"getting rid of" students who were not working hard enough or were not smart
enough to be engineers.
Dr. Ford was one of
the earlier professors in the structural group in a department that was
primarily known for its civil engineering but which had decided to form a
structural group. As such he would have been part of the recruiting team
that recruited such great structural engineers as James G. MacGregor who
joined just before I enrolled as a student.
Dr. Ford also served
as the founding Department Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering as
well as Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. He also served as the
President of the Association of Professional Engineers of Alberta; in that
capacity it was he who signed my EIT Certificate. In all, he was a
Professor at the University of Alberta for more than forty years.
As a student I didn't
fully appreciate just how outstanding his credentials really were. It
was not until 1980 or '81 when I attended a weekend seminar he was
presenting that this was fully driven home. At one point in the
seminar he made the statement "I'm the luckiest engineer in the world.
For the last two years of Timoshenko's teaching career his Teaching Assistant
was George Ford!!"
He was 85 at the time
of his death. His passing will mark a milestone in the history of the
University of Alberta. There will be a service held for him in Edmonton
H. Daryl Richardson