Professor Rian Dippenaar a world-class researcher and teacher who bridged divide between academia and industry.

When Professor Rian Dippenaar was deciding when to retire, 2 July 2020 seemed like a good date to make the leap.

In addition to being his last day of work, it was his wedding anniversary – 54 years – making the occasion even more auspicious.

“I retired at 77 and a half,” Professor Dippenaar said with a laugh. “I had planned on working until I was 80 but that was a bit optimistic. The energy is not quite what it was.”

Yesterday (Tuesday 8 December), Professor Dippenaar capped off his career with an Emeritus Professorship from the University of Wollongong, during a conferral ceremony at Innovation Campus.

“I was pretty naïve as I thought every professor who retires becomes an Emeritus Professor,” he said. “I was a bit taken back by all the fuss. But once I realised what an honour it was, I was very surprised. I’m not sure I deserve all the accolades.”

It was a typically humble approach from a world-class researcher who has gained a reputation for his passionate leadership and ability to bridge the divide between academia and industry.

Professor Dippenaar joined UOW in 1996 from his native South Africa, where he had earned a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and a Master of Science from the University of Pretoria, followed by a PhD from the University of Cambridge in the UK.

As a Professor of Steelmaking, he was recruited to UOW as the founding Director of the multi-disciplinary BHP Institute for Steel Processing and Products. From there, he became a valued and experienced member of UOW’s engineering faculty.

Professor Dippenaar has conducted research in support of new technological developments, and facilitated a large number of joint industry-university research projects in a variety of disciplines.

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