Waterloo Remembers Professor Plumtree


Alan Plumtree, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Waterloo, passed away earlier this month on Nov 5. Professor Plumtree played a major role in establishing the mechanical engineering department at UW. 

Professor Plumtree created a hand operated pump in the late 1970’s alongside Alfred Rudin, after being approached by the International Development Research centre. The very same hand pump is still in use in many countries, all over the world. The pump provides safe drinking water, and is made using versatile materials that can easily be manufactured and repaired by villagers.

Mary Wells, UW’s new Dean of Engineering, says Plumtree was responsible for her joining Waterloo Engineering in 2007. 

Wells was working as a materials engineering professor at the University of British Columbia when Plumtree contacted her about a position in Waterloo’s mechanical and mechatronics engineering department. 

“He was an incredibly kind and supportive person who encouraged me to apply to Waterloo Engineering. After I was hired, he generously became a mentor to me when I took over teaching some of the courses he had taught. I will miss him very much,” Wells said.

Professor Plumtree received his Doctor of Science degree from the University of Nottingham and, thanks to several achievements and accolades throughout his years, attained the title of Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering from UW.


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