Engineering Now .: Volume 4 - Edition 4 .: December 2007 and January 2008

Western Engineering thanks outgoing Dean Franco Berruti

Dean Berruti was lauded for his dynamic leadership of the Faculty of Engineering from 2000 to 2007.

Deemed a Renaissance man who’s not afraid to take a stance, Faculty of Engineering Dean Franco Berruti was honoured Monday for strengthening his faculty with creativity and imagination during seven years at the helm.

Staff, Faculty, students and many friends gathered at the Great Hall between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to thank Dean Berruti for leading the Faculty into an era of unprecedented prosperity, and to wish him well in the next stage of his career. Dean Berruti stepped down on January 31, 2007 to focus more time on his research.

While several hundred people mingled and enjoyed everything the afternoon had to offer, there was still ample time for a few words about the man of the hour from those who have worked side-by-side with Dean Berruti for the last seven years. Several members of Western’s senior administration were on-hand to share their thoughts.

“Franco does what he does to make a difference,” said Western President Paul Davenport, noting that Berruti has blazed a trail of success during his time at the university. “He has made a difference in undergraduate levels, graduate levels, research grants and countless others areas.”

“Franco is a man who pushed hard not only for his faculty but for the entire university,” added Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Fred Longstaffe. “His passion for his work, for the university, and for life in general, is something I hope transfers to all of us.”

That passion has translated into many success stories for Western Engineering. Since Dean Berruti’s inception, the Faculty of Engineering has seen tremendous developments. Graduate student, faculty and staff complement levels have grown. New facilities, including the Thompson Engineering Building, the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Graduate Student Addition and the newest project, the Claudette Mackay-Lassonde Building have housed the expansion.

At the undergraduate level, programs and opportunities cumulatively branded as Western Engineering Plus have gained much recognition as they provide students interested in leadership positions many opportunities to gain an education beyond the technical focus of some other engineering programs.

The Claudette Mackay-Lassonde Pavilion is a project that Dean Berruti has had his sights set on since he arrived at Western. Once the building is completed in 2009, it will be a permanent testament to his dedication to his Faculty and the people who work and attend school here.

Known informally as the Green Building, this new structure will be Western’s first LEED (Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design) certified facility. It will also provide new space for collaborative learning for students, office space and laboratories where leading-edge environmental research can be done.

In honour of his tireless efforts to make the Claudette Mackay-Lassonde Pavilion a reality, and to thank him for all that he has done, the Dean’s Office presented Dean Berruti with a special gift. In the courtyard of the new building there will be a grove of Ironwood trees, along with an inscribed plaque, that are planted and dedicated to Dean Berutti. It will bear the name, “Berruti Grove”, and will be a permanent marker of his contributions to Western Engineering.

For his own part, Dean Berruti admitted to being slightly overwhelmed by all the praise and warm wishes that were sent his way on Monday. But he wanted to make sure that all in attendance understood that the accomplishments by Western Engineering are a team effort.

“WE stands not only for Western Engineering, but for just what it is ‘we’. It was teamwork that got things done from day one. It was wonderful for me to work with people who understood the message I was trying to convey,” he said. “Western was the place you could get things done and I felt a wonderful opportunity to make a difference and that was one of the reason I came here. It's been a wonderful ride."


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.: Becky Blue
Spencer Engineering Building, Room 2074
Telephone: (519) 850-2917 Fax: (519) 661-3808