Engineering legend inspires next generation

Monday, 20 September 2021

When alumnus Mr CHOO Heng Thong (Bachelor of Engineering 1977) graduated from the University of Newcastle he had been forever impacted by the leadership and friendship of leading engineering educator Emeritus Professor Alan Roberts AM.

Professor Alan Roberts gives a tour of TUNRA for four recent scholarship recipients
Engineering students Mikayla, Ahmad, Zachariah and John recently toured TUNRA Bulk Solids with Emeritus Professor Roberts, with Mr CHOO joining them from Singapore via Zoom

It was this deep connection and admiration that led Mr CHOO in 2011 to generously donate and initiate the Professor Alan Roberts Undergraduate Scholarship in Engineering, in recognition and thanks for his inspiring leadership over many decades.

Mr CHOO’s vision was to grow a community of Professor Alan Roberts Scholars who shared Alan’s passion for engineering, innovative research and solving problems within the industry.

Ten years on, seventeen gifted students have benefited from this much needed support; enabling them to overcome hardship to study engineering. Many other donors, inspired by Professor Alan Roberts have supported the fund. Through a collective effort, the fund is currently providing scholarships to up to four students annually in perpetuity. We hope to continue to grow the fund in Alan's name to enable its positive impact for generations to come.

“This scholarship isn’t necessarily about being the highest achiever. It’s about supporting students who demonstrate motivation, commitment, and determination to succeed. These are qualities embodied by Alan Roberts in his life’s work,” says Mr CHOO.

Professor Alan Roberts has been an expert in the field of bulk solids handling for over 50 years, including 40 years at the University of Newcastle. A great champion of industry collaboration and innovation, Professor Roberts remains active in his research, consulting and mentoring roles despite having formally ‘retired’ at the end of 1993.

Giving a scholarship to a student is a way for us to recognise their hidden potential. Support for that should not end with one scholarship or one student. It should continue for as long as possible.”

Emeritus Professor Alan Roberts AM

When I look back on my early years as a student at the University of Newcastle, I consider it a wonderful gift to have had been taught by a person such as Alan Roberts. This helped me enormously in my own career and prompted me to consider how I can give back and ensure his outstanding legacy will continue.”

CHOO Heng Thong

Do you enjoy hearing stories about other donors and what inspires them? Check out our donor videos at newcastle.edu.au/our-supporters

Read more stories featured in the GiftDownload your copy of the Gift

Aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

4 - Quality education9 - Industry, innovation and infrastructure10 - Reduced inequalities

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.