Professor emeritus recognized for contributions to engineering

As an undergraduate studying engineering in Windsor, Phil Alexander (BASc 1963, MASc 1964) was struck by the appropriateness of the University’s motto to his chosen profession.

“Teach me goodness, discipline and knowledge resonates for engineers because it puts integrity at the top of the list,” says the professor emeritus. “An engineer can’t put his name to something he knows is false. He can’t misrepresent documents just as he can’t misrepresent nature. I was impressed with the parallel.”

Prof. Alexander was named the Windsor Essex Engineer of the Year by the local chapter of Professional Engineers Ontario at a luncheon Friday at the Caboto Club. The award recognizes an engineer who has contributed significantly to the profession’s advancement: technically, educationally or through community service.

In nominating Alexander, colleague Nihar Biswas—acting associate dean for research and graduate studies in the Faculty of Engineering—cited his volunteer efforts, including serving as a founding member of the board of the North American Black Historical Museum and Cultural Centre in Amherstburg; two terms on the Board of Trustees of the Ontario Science Centre; on the employment equity advisory committees of the Windsor public board of education and Windsor Policing Services; and on the boards of the Big Brother Association of Greater Windsor, the Windsor YMCA, and other community organizations.

Alexander himself looks back fondly on his days as an educator, including 11 years as associate dean.

“You hope that some of the advice you give people leads to positive outcomes,” he says. “I have met former students who had been struggling and went on to build successful careers and hope that I gave them the encouragement they needed.”