A number of alumni continue their relationship with the Department by contributing to our teaching, collaborating on research, and involving us in their projects.  

The Department are always happy to hear from our alumni, both recently graduated and those who are now well established in their careers.  Please email us at if you would like to be kept informed of activities in the Department or if you have any news you would like to share with us. We welcome suggestions from Alumni on events / networking opportunities, and please contact us with your suggestions. Keep in touch with events in the Department at South Kensington by following us on Twitter.  

If you are an alumnus you may be interested to know about the recently opened visitor centre: Alumni Visitor Centre, which includes a cafe that all alumni are welcome to use.

History of Alumni in the Department

Civil and Mechanical Engineering were taught in a combined course out of a general Engineering Department from 1884 until the two disciplines split into departments in their own right in 1913.

Since that time the Department has grown and developed, as new subjects have been introduced and substantial state-of-the art laboratories have been built in order to support cutting-edge research and teaching.  Many of the civil and environmental engineers taught by the Department have gone on to make a great contribution to their discipline, both in academia and industry.

Some of our alumni have kindly provided profiles about themselves and their careers after graduation which you can view on our Alumni profiles page.

The Department has trained civil engineers since the latter part of the 19th Century, many of whom have gone on to make a great contribution to the profession.

In the early days, many, such as AE Young (1887-1890) and G W M Ball (1904-1907), became directors of public works all over the British Empire working as surveyors and irrigation engineers.

In the early 20th Century, Oscar Faber (1903-06) and R S Jenkins (1927-30) made important advances in fundamental aspects of structural engineering, and others began a tradition of work in bridge engineering which dates back to the Sydney Harbour Bridge of 1922. These include Ralph Freeman Senior (1897-1900), Gilbert Roberts (1920-1922), and Tom Wyatt (1949-52).

The tradition continues to this day, with alumni and current staff providing technical contributions to many prestigious projects such as the Second Bosphorous Crossing (Turkey), Tsing Ma Bridge (Hong Kong) and the Storebaelt Bridge (Denmark).

Alumni were also heavily involved in the post-war construction  boom, in particular the introduction of prestressing techniques in concrete construction. The doyen of the field was Sir Alan Harris, Emeritus Professor in the Department until his recent death, but active alumni includes C W Yu, (1950-54) and Dudley New (1929-32).

Former students have also made distinguished contributions to civil engineering design, notable examples including Peter Rice (1957-58) and Peter Clark (1952-53).

Analysis has also been a very strong feature, with Olgierd Zienkiewicz (1940-45) and Peter Bettess (1964-65) having long been leading lights in the development and application of finite element analysis, a discipline in which current staff remain leading exponents worldwide. The stabilisation of the Leaning Tower of Pisa has depended critically on FEA carried out in the Department, using in-house software.

The development of offshore oilfields owes much to the work of Jack Chapman (1940-42), Colin Billington (1965-73), who did early work on offshore platforms, and Richard Jardine (1970-77), for work on the Hutton tension leg platform. 

Transportation is also a field in which, for example, Colin Buchanan (1924-29) and Brian Martin (1957-60) have done important work, while others, including Ted Flaxman (1949-57) and David Kell (1973-74) are leading international figures in water supply and sanitation.

The influence of Imperial College has spread to universities throughout the world, as alumni left South Kensington to take up senior academic posts abroad, in, for example, MIT (Nigel Wilson, 1962-65), Cornell (DJ Henkel, 1949-50), Alberta (Morgenstern, 1956-58), and Western Australia (Lauchlan Millar, 1963-64). More recently, George Gramopoulos (1968-72) became Professor of Transport in Thessaloniki, while Joao Texeira de Freitas (1974-78) and Joao Appleton (1957-78) hold Chairs in Structures in the Technical University, Lisbon.

Special mention should be made of Professor Sir Alec Skempton (1933-36), the founding father of British Soil Mechanics and one of the 20th Century's most distinguished Civil Engineers. Sadly "Skem" passed away in August 2001 although he remained an active Emeritus Professor at Imperial College right up to his last year.

Many more examples could be given of alumni who have gone from this Department to make a major impact on the discipline of civil engineering, in academia, industry and the profession.