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Professor Kevin Edge: oration

Read the oration on Professor Kevin Edge for the honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering in September 2016.


Professor Kevin Edge
Professor Kevin Edge

Vice-Chancellor, it is my pleasure to introduce Professor Kevin Edge, an academic and an academic leader whose story is intricately linked with that of the University. It is particularly appropriate to make this award at the Bath/ASME International Fluid Power and Motion Control Symposium, as he was the principal organiser of this annual event for a period of 15 years from 1988.

Kevin Edge’s career has striking similarities to that of the University of Bath. Born in Bristol, Kevin studied at Kingswood Grammar School before joining the University in 1967 as a student on the Mechanical Engineering degree programme at the brand new Bath campus on Claverton Down. His academic studies were complemented by several industrial placements with his sponsor, Rolls Royce Aero Engines. He graduated with a First Class Honours degree in 1971 and, after completing a PhD at Bath, he re-joined Rolls Royce for a couple of years prior to returning to the University as a Research Officer concerned with noise in hydraulic systems. A lectureship followed and his career then blossomed as a result of his studious attention to detail in research and skilful management of colleagues. He received a personal chair in 1991, was Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering for 6 years from 1997 and was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research in 2003. In 2008, he was made Deputy Vice-Chancellor and was a key player in the meteoric growth of the University, which has become one of the leading universities in the UK for undergraduate study and for research.

It would take too long to list the numerous awards that have been heaped on Kevin, other than to mention the IMechE Joseph Bramah Medal, a Fellowship to the Royal Academy of Engineering, a DSc from the University of Bath and numerous awards for technical papers that he authored over his career. Indeed, including this award, he is the only person in the history of the University to have received three doctorates from the University of Bath!

His research interests spanned all things hydraulic, including pumping dynamics, valve systems, fault diagnosis, control and fluid borne noise, the latter leading to the publication of new ISO Standards. More widely, his work on a tilting city vehicle has reached an estimated world audience of 100 million, appeared on the front cover of TIME magazine and was cited as one of the six best inventions of 2007. Under his tenure as the Head of Department, Mechanical Engineering received a 5* award in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise, while as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the University was placed first in the 2014 and 2015 Times Higher Education Survey.

It is telling that, on retirement, Kevin’s role as Deputy Vice-Chancellor was reviewed and he was replaced by two senior posts, a testament to the influence that Kevin had over many years. Kevin stands here today as a role model for a younger generation, an example of what can be achieved as a graduate from Bath and a highly respected academic and leader who was trusted and admired by all who worked with him.

Vice-Chancellor, I present to you Kevin Edge, who is eminently worthy to receive the degree of Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa.

Dr Jos Darling Orator

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