Alumni Weekend celebrates 150 years of engineering innovation

Engineering Alumni seated in a marquee, celebrating the 150th anniversary of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh

Over the weekend of 5th–7th October 2018, alumni, staff and students gathered to mark 150 years of engineering creativity at the School of Engineering. 

The Alumni Weekend was attended by over 150 guests and featured a host of activities, talks and demonstrations celebrating the achievements, innovations and people that have contributed to the School’s history.

Participants were also invited to reflect on the future of engineering at the University with a showcase of exciting recent developments and student-led activity at the King’s Buildings campus.

Opportunities to reconnect

There were plenty of opportunities for alumni across disciplines and year groups to catch up with friends, classmates and mentors old and new on campus and across the city.

The social programme kicked off with welcome drinks at student favourite The Pear Tree on Friday evening, and continued with an Alumni & Friends Dinner at Dynamic Earth on Saturday evening attended by around 170 staff, students and alumni. Guests enjoyed magnificent views of Arthur’s Seat over a three-course meal and wine. The weekend concluded with an all-School BBQ with live music at the Alumni Hub at the King’s Buildings on Sunday afternoon.

Reflecting on past achievements

Although 2018 marks 150 years since Queen Victoria bestowed the first Regius Chair of Engineering in the UK to the University of Edinburgh, engineering has been taught at Edinburgh since the 1780s. In their tour of the King’s Buildings, alumni walked past a timeline celebrating outstanding individuals who have made their mark on the School and the wider engineering world since then. 

These included lighthouse designer Robert Stevenson, locomotive pioneer Robert Stephenson, electrical telegraphy engineer Fleeming Jenkin and more recently Mary (Molly) Fergusson – the first woman to graduate with honours in Engineering at The University of Edinburgh. These four individuals were also celebrated on the School’s first commemorative plaques, unveiled in early September. 

Looking to the future

Also showcased were recent exciting developments and pioneering research activity within the School. These included student-led projects such as HYPED, an interdisciplinary team working on the high-speed intercity mass transport system Hyperloop; and Edinburgh University Formula Student, which pulls together students from different backgrounds to construct an F1-style race car. 

Additional activities included a demo of the FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility and performances of Design by Disaster, an innovative theatre piece staged in collaboration between the School of Engineering and Braw Fox Theatre.

Eng150 finale

The programme of Eng150 activities will conclude with a public event in early 2019, in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineers. More details coming soon.

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