Development & Alumni Relations Office 

Obituary for Professor James Dunwoody (1935-2012) –
A visionary benefactor to Queen’s University

Professor Emeritus James Dunwoody, a generous benefactor to Queen’s University, died on Tuesday 24th January 2012.

The Professor was a pupil of St Mary’s in Belfast from 1948 to 1953. In 1953 he took up a State Scholarship at Queen’s University.

After graduating in Mechanical Engineering in 1957, Professor Dunwoody decided he wanted to be an Aircraft Project Design Engineer and took up a two year post-graduate apprenticeship in Short Bros. & Harland Ltd. 

He then returned to academia to study for his PhD in Computational Fluid Dynamics under the supervision of Dr S.C.R. Dennis, Head of Engineering Mathematics. He was an Assistant Lecturer for two of his three years under Dennis, who went on to become Professor and Chairman of Applied Mathematics, University of Toronto, London, Ontario, Canada.

In the autumn of 1962, Professor Dunwoody began his professional career as a Senior Scientific Officer in The Mathematics Division of the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, Middlesex, in the company of mathematicians of exceptional merit engaged in various research disciplines.

In 1965, Professor Dunwoody returned to the University to work in the Engineering Mathematics Department, where he enjoyed many years of continued success, rising to merit Professor of Theoretical Mechanics. He transferred to the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics before retiring from the University in 1998.

Subsequently he was elected Emeritus by the Senate.

In the early years, after his return to Queen’s, he took leave to work as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Associate in the Department of Mechanics, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA. And in 1980/81 he was as a Senior Fulbright Scholar in the  Department of Aerospace Engineering & Mechanics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Mn, USA. Also, for three summers in the mid 1980s, he worked as a Visiting Professor at the Istituto di Scienza delle Costruzioni, Universitá di Pisa, Italia.

In 2010 he set up an entrance scholarship which recognises the two educational institutions which most influenced his professional life - St Mary’s Christian Brothers’ Grammar School and Queen’s University Belfast.

This significant and generous bequest helps to support future generations of Engineering and Physical Science students and is open to students from the three Christian Brothers’ Grammar Schools entering the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Queen’s.



Back to list



Top of Page