Former colleague remembered with launch of student prize

The University’s School of Engineering has launched a new student prize in memory of a dearly-loved former colleague.

Dr Peter MacConnell, Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering, passed away on November 19, 2011, following  a long battle with cancer. Peter was a dedicated academic and an outstanding teacher and supporter of students.
Now, colleagues at the School of Engineering, and across the University, are contributing to a fund to establish The Peter MacConnell Memorial Prize.
This will be awarded annually to the undergraduate student in Electrical and Electronic Engineering who obtains the highest overall marks for the third year of their course.
Professor Tom O'Donoghue, Head of School of Engineering, said: “Following Peter’s death, many friends and colleagues expressed a desire to contribute towards something that would be a fitting memorial to Peter, reflecting his area of expertise and also his passion for supporting students.
“Peter truly was an outstanding colleague, always a great person to work with, whether in research, teaching or administration. He brought a wonderful personal touch and friendly approach to everything he did, which was hugely appreciated by students and colleagues alike. Always looking for ways to make his classes more interesting and effective, he introduced an induction programme for first year Engineering students, developed innovative group-based teaching methods and novel design exercises, and was a pioneer in the use of online learning tools. Many of Peter’s initiatives and practices have been copied by others.
“Whatever the topic, a conversation with Peter invariably ended with laughter; it raised one’s spirits, you were glad to have chatted with him. And I’m sure that is how many colleagues will remember Peter: a wonderful colleague who left you smiling.”
A Strathclyde graduate, Peter MacConnell went on to do postgraduate research at Strathclyde and Exeter, graduating with a PhD in Control Systems Engineering from Exeter in 1995. He joined the (then) Department of Engineering at Aberdeen in 1996 as a Lecturer in Control and Power Systems Engineering. Based on his considerable expertise in control, artificial intelligence and condition monitoring, Peter developed a portfolio of research that linked well to industry problems.
As his career progressed, Peter took an increasingly greater interest in student recruitment, especially international student recruitment, which led to his appointment as Director of Admissions (Engineering) in 2006, a role he carried while continuing with teaching and research within the School of Engineering.

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