Reporter 438, 26 July 1999


Professor Colin McGreavy died on 23 June 1999, aged 64

Colin McGreavy was a Leeds man with a global outlook. Born in Leeds in 1935, he enrolled at the University of Leeds to read Chemical Engineering in 1953.

Armed with a first-class degree he gained a place at Yale on a MEng. programme in the chemical engineering department. He so impressed the staff at Yale that he was offered enrolment for a DEng. which included teaching duties. He returned to the new chemical engineering department at Leeds as a lecturer in 1962.

He brought back hands-on experience of digital computing and a conviction that it would transform the calculation of mass and energy balances on which chemical plant design was based. His insights and enthusiasm resulted in the department acquiring its own IBM 1130 computer together with a System 7 for on-line working.

Colin’s research started with the design and control of fixed bed adsorption systems and developed into a study of packed tubular catalytic reactors. He gained an international reputation and was frequently invited to lecture in the USA and Japan. He was appointed to a chair in chemical engineering in 1973.

He was also a keen sportsman. Most mornings he would swim in the international pool before arriving early in the department. At one time he joined his research students in five-a-side football. He leaves a wife, Shizui, a son, Ian, and a daughter, Yvette.

Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Haselden

Professor Philip Thody died on 15 June 1999, aged 71

Philip Thody was educated at Lincoln School and, after his National Service, read French at King’s College, London. Graduating with a first in 1951, he went on to research in Paris and in 1954 moved briefly to the French department at Birmingham and then to Queen’s, Belfast.

In 1965, at 37, he was appointed Professor of French Literature at Leeds. He retired in 1993, having spent 17 of his 28 years at Leeds as head of department.

Philip led from the front. He served on every University committee and, alternating with Ted Hope until 1987, steered the department through difficult times.

One of his proudest achievements was to have initiated, in 1972, the long-running series of language courses for Whitehall civil servants. This led, in 1982, to the landmark Thody report, an evaluation of foreign-language provision in the Diplomatic Service. Between times, always alarmingly well informed and up to date, he published 30 books and innumerable articles which made French intellectualism accessible to the pragmatic Anglo-Saxon mind. Latterly, his interest turned to language issues, post-war Europe and community institutions.

Only a month before his death he flew to Zagreb for the launch of the Serbo-Croat translation of his short history of the European Union.

Philip was a force of nature, unstoppably good humoured, a stranger to malice, the most generous of colleagues and the most giving of friends.

Those privileged to have known him will give thanks for his life and offer Joy and the family their deepest sympathy.

Professor David Coward

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