Thursday 8 July 2004
O. (Max) Maxwell
Public Orator, Jon
Walker presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Ceremony
held on Thursday 8 July 2004 at 10.30am.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Graduands,
Ernest Maxwell –
better known to us as ‘Max’ Maxwell – is an
engineer, but more than that he is a Loughborough engineer. He
was born in Jaipur, India in 1929 where his father co-founded
the State Railway, and his passion for engineering is really no
surprise – by the age of just 12 he had already begun an
informal apprenticeship in the railway workshops.
In 1946, aged 17, he
arrived in Loughborough on his first ever day in England. Max
studied Mechanical Engineering joining a group of mostly older
students, many recently demobbed – his first roommate was
32 and already had a Military Cross!
At that time Mechanical
Engineering was taught at Sainsbury’s – or rather
in the College buildings where Sainsbury’s now stands. The
only buildings on this main campus were the athletics track and
pavilion, Hazlerigg and Rutland, the old pool and Victory Hall.
You fans of FND will
be pleased to know that dance culture has always been a part of
Loughborough life. It was at the Town Hall dance, on the same
Saturday Max scored his maiden century for the College cricket
team, that he met Beryl who was to become his wife 53 years ago.
On leaving Loughborough
Max joined the recently nationalised British Electrical Authority
as a graduate trainee. Beginning with conventional coal-fired
power stations, during the 1950’s Max became part of the
team overseeing the design, tenders and commissioning of the first
of Britain’s nuclear power stations. His forty year career
in the industry led to overall responsibility for reactor refuelling
for the North West.
Shortly after retirement
Max began a ‘second career’ making a substantial and
valued contribution to the future of the University. He joined
the small team running the ‘Guild of Loughborough Students’
and helped it evolve into the Alumni Association.
In 1997 he was elected
President of the Alumni Association overseeing many significant
advances, including the establishment of the annual golf challenge
match, with alumni pitted against a strong University side for
the Max Maxwell Challenge Trophy.
As President Max also
became a member of University Council, and began to contribute
to the governance of the Institution he first attended 50 years
before. Co-opted for a further term, Max served for 6 years from
1997 to 2003.
In the later years
he chaired the Estates Management Committee, one of the largest
Committee roles at the University. During Max’s time an
extensive building programme was successfully completed, including
many outstanding new sports facilities.
This University thrives
because of its students and its staff. But it also depends greatly
on lay volunteers who commit time, energy and expertise to serving
on its Council and committees.
Increasingly we are
seeing alumni who are not just part of Loughborough’s past,
or even of its present, but who are committed to playing a full
and meaningful role in the future of the University. In this respect,
Max Maxwell, class of 1948, through his contributions to the Alumni
Association and to the governance of the University is an example
to us all.
I have the honour to present to you, and to the whole University,
‘Max’ Maxwell, for the Degree of Doctor of the University,