Coveart family shares engineering legacy

Western Engineering News | November 23, 2021

Five Western graduates. Three generations of Mustangs. One purple and proud legacy.

The Coveart family has been a part of the Western community for over 75 years, beginning with Arthur Coveart, who trained at Western for the Canadian Navy as a radar specialist in the late 1930s, to Lynn (Coveart) Franklin (Nursing, BScN’71), to husband and wife Jim Coveart (BESc’78, Chemical Engineering) and Antonet Svircev (BSc’79 and PhD’84, Plant Science), to daughter Carla Coveart (BESc’13, Civil and Environmental Engineering).

Jim and Carla Coveart

Thinking back on why they chose Western Engineering, Carla and her father Jim said they were both inspired by the engineers in their lives, and joining Western became a natural progression from high school.

“I was born and raised in the nuclear research town of Deep River, where half the people were engineers and the other half had PhDs,” said Jim. “Many of my high school teachers were engineers, and I was impressed and inspired by them.”

For Carla, whenever she visited her aunt Ruth in London, her parents would take Carla for a drive through Western’s beautiful campus, recounting student memories as they drove along.

“I am happy to say that Western Engineering gave me my own great memories of Western!” Carla’s student experience helped set the stage for her career success with GM BluePlan Engineering in water resources engineering. “I love being at the forefront of innovations and leading the cause to improve water quality,” she said.

When asked to look back on their fondest memories at Western, the Covearts shared some treasured moments, unique to the Western experience.

Antonet hooding her daughter Carla at Convocation (2013)

“Many of my fondest Western memories occurred at Alumni Hall. There, I received my undergraduate degree and my PhD. Many years later, I hooded my daughter at her graduation from the Engineering Faculty. The President of the University and dignitaries all laughed when I asked Carla for a kiss on stage after hooding her!” – Antonet Svircev

“I remember my own secret iron ring ceremony, so I would say that being able to present my daughter with her iron ring at an open event at Alumni Hall was my most treasured moment.”  – Jim Coveart

“My fondest memory was being an Engineering Soph as part of the Western Engineering Orientation Committee for three years. While volunteering on this committee, I made some of my greatest friendships with likeminded students across all program years.” – Carla Coveart

With such a close multi-generational connection to the Western community, the Coveart family wanted to give something back. To that end, 31 years ago, they launched the Arthur S. Coveart Engineering Award.

Prior to his deployment into the North Atlantic to hunt German U-boats during World War II, Jim’s father, Arthur Coveart, trained at Western to become a radar specialist with the Royal Canadian Navy.

“When my father passed away in 1990, it seemed fitting to start an Engineering Scholarship in his name, given that his radar training at Western started his career designing radiation detection equipment for Canada’s nuclear program and ultimately led me to a career in engineering.”

Arthur Coveart (front left) and his graduating class (c.1939)

The Arthur S. Coveart Engineering Award is offered annually to a faculty-recommended, well-rounded undergraduate student who is entering their third year in Electrical and Computer Engineering and is an active member of the Western community.

“Art was such an all-around guy, so we thought it appropriate that the award should be given to an all-around individual,” said Antonet. “We wanted to recognize more than a student’s academic gifts.”

This year’s Arthur S. Coveart Engineering Award recipient is third-year electrical engineering student Jaideep Wander, whose studies focus on the industrial side of design, examining the production of automated machines and control systems. Wander has also been involved with numerous clubs and teams at Western Engineering, including Western Rocketry, Western Formula Racing, and Western’s IEEE Student Association.

“This award has helped boost my moral and confidence — It feels nice to be recognized for my hard work and involvement”,” said Wander. “I am so grateful for this award, as it helps me financially and pushes me to achieve my desired goals in design and manufacturing, further inspiring me to work on a future design project from an automotive perspective.”

The Arthur S. Coveart Engineering Award is the Covearts’ way of leaving a proud family legacy to support the next generations of engineers here at Western.

“It’s so nice to come back to campus and meet the students,” said Jim, who continues to keep in touch with several past award recipients. “The award has kept me connected to Western for 30+ years, and it has truly been a great journey.”