Born to Build

“This is the story of our Faculty from the beginning through the year 2018.

“These pages capture the spirit and passion of our earliest students, professors and supporters — and who demonstrated — that anything is possible.”

J Fraser Forbes, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, 2015-2021

Born to Build: A Peoples’ History of the Faculty of Engineering, 1906-2018

A friend who worked in the Faculty of Engineering, Rich Cairney, emailed me asking if I had another book in me. I was on a vacation on a cruise. I immediately wrote back: yes! I knew many of the Engineering Deans and Chairs and many of the profs. The research, teaching, and community service is in here, all wrapped up in unusual, fascinating life stories.

How about Norm, who was shot down twice in WWII before his 21 st birthday? After that, his plane caught fire and he jumped, losing his flying boots in the process. He hid from the Nazis for months. And there is more to it than that!

My favourite chapter is ‘Engineering’s Architecture Program’. Who knew we once had an architecture program?

Engineering is full of one-of-a-kind life stories. The first Asian students to attain degrees in Engineering were young architects Eddie Wing and Nobuichi Yamamoka. And Esther Hill, the first woman architect in Canada did her first two years of study here, leaving for the U of T as the one and only architecture professor went off to serve in WWI. Fast forward some 100 years and you will find student Kory Mathewson creating ALIX, a HumanMachine, who is Kory’s comedy partner. ALIX? ALIX is an Artificial Language Experiment.

Published by the Faculty of Engineering, there are limited numbers of this book at Audrey’s Bookstore.