Long serving engineering staff celebrated

University of Edinburgh Old College

Three staff from the School of Engineering were recently recognised for their long service to the University.

The University Principal, Sir Peter Mathieson, hosted a ceremony in the Playfair Library to recognise the dedication of staff who have been with the University for 25 years or more.

Among them were three engineering staff, Dr John Christy, Assistant Director of Learning and Teaching for Curriculum Delivery and Mandy Simpson, Research Finance Administrator – who both celebrated 40 years – and Colin Higgs, Deputy Head of IT in the School of Engineering, who celebrated 25 years.

Dr John Christy – 40 years

John Christy studied at the University of Cambridge and joined the chemical engineering staff at the University of Edinburgh while completing his PhD. Along with teaching many cohorts of chemical engineering students, he has conducted research on artificial heart valves, microelectronics cooling and disease diagnosis.

John is currently contributing to curriculum renewal in engineering, as Assistant Director of Learning and Teaching in Engineering, along with his role in Chemical Engineering.

John said:

“It doesn’t feel like 40 years have passed since I started out on my academic career. I have enjoyed seeing students grasp challenging concepts and showing their ability to apply them. The most memorable moments have been seeing students in difficulty finding renewed confidence and succeeding in their studies."

When asked about his advice for new staff starting out in engineering academia, John said:

"In research, follow those opportunities that play to your strengths and can make a positive difference. In teaching, remember that you can make a difference to the lives of those you help to develop in knowledge and understanding by the way you interact with them.”

Mandy Simpson – 40 years

Mandy began her career at Moray House College of Education as a cashier in the finance office. She moved to the University in 1998 as part of the merger of institutions, becoming part of the cash office in central finance at that time based in Old College.

Mandy joined the School of Engineering in 2016 as part of the finance team in the administration office. Her current role is Research Finance Administrator, where she acts as the School’s pre-award contact for research proposals within the Research Finance team.

Colin Higgs, Deputy IT Services Manager – 25 years

Colin Higgs first came to the University of Edinburgh to study mathematical physics as an undergraduate student. Some time later he returned to take up the post of Computing Officer for the Department of Chemical Engineering, “back when departments, academic terms and marathon bars were still things”.

The department grew to a division and then a school, while – in Colin’s words – “technology grew from wet-string to twisted pair and high capacity fibre, from Sun pizza boxes to high powered towers and servers, from terminals to personal computers to web things and clouds. All of this in the family called 'engineering'.”

Valuing people

Sir Peter Mathieson said:

“I am profoundly humbled every time we pay tribute to our longest-serving colleagues. My sincere thanks and admiration to you all on behalf of myself and all the members of the University of Edinburgh community who have benefited from your decades of loyal service.”

The University of Edinburgh’s Long Service Award scheme supports the institution’s core values and, in particular, valuing people. The scheme is embedded within a culture of celebration of success and of individual achievement. An annual award ceremony celebrates staff who have reached the milestones of 25, 40 and 50 years continuous service with the University.

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