Mining and Minerals Engineering Reunion - 9 May 2014

The 16th reunion was held in Birmingham over the weekend of 9th and 10th May, 2014, based at the Copthorne Birmingham Hotel. The last reunion having been held in May, 1988 at the Grand Hotel. Despite the intervening gap of 26 years some 89 graduates, staff and partners attended the two day event. Graduates from as far afield as Belgium, Canada, South Africa, Turkey and USA travelled to meet their compatriots and former lecturers. The earliest graduate had obtained his Mining degree in 1949 and the latest, just before the department ceased to exist, in 1985.

The programme commenced on the Friday afternoon with a visit to the School of Chemical Engineering, the successor to Mining and Minerals Engineering, where presentations on the current activities of the School were made by Professor Neil Rowson and two undergraduates followed by a tour of the facilities. The visit to the University concluded with a tour of the recently refurbished Great Hall and Chancellors Court and to the building off Elms Road that formally housed the Minerals Engineering building now occupied by Metallurgy and Materials.

On the Friday evening there was a reception followed by the reunion dinner at the Copthorne Birmingham Hotel. The guests were Emeritus Professor Joe Biddlestone who had graduated from the University of Birmingham in 1958 with a BSc in Chemical Engineering and who was Head of the School of Chemical Engineering from 1993–1998. Professor Biddlestone proposed the toast to the University and enlightened the audience about the origins and history of the School of Chemical Engineering. This was followed by a toast to the industry by Professor Richard Williams, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, who gave us his opinion on how he foresaw advances in the industry will be developed in the coming decades and in what manner this will impact on society and the role of the University and industry in achieving these concepts. The final guest was Mr Alan Rozelaar, the oldest graduate present having obtained his BSc in Mining in 1949 but also the oldest lecturer (1956 to 1984).

The following day there were optional guided tours of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts and the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham. The reunion concluded with a canal boat cruise from Gas Street basin to Selly Oak via the University.

There was a surplus on the 2-day events amounting to £540, which was donated to the Acorns Children’s Hospice, a charity dedicated to the care for life limited and life threatened children and young people, and their families, across the heart of England. The organisers of the 16th reunion would like to thank the management of the Copthorne Hotel who donated bottles of wine that contributed significantly to this surplus and also Sherbourne Wharf Ltd who provided the canal boats at a discounted price.

Based upon the success of the event provisional dates for the 17th reunion have been proposed as 11th to 13th May in 2018. A LinkedIn Group entitled UoB Mining and Minerals Engineering Alumni on LinkedIn has been formed and it is intended to put photos from the reunion as well as archive group pictures, and details of the next reunion etc.

Iain Wells (BSc, 1970; PhD, 1973)

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