Roger Pollard, 1946-2011

January 12, 2012

Roger Pollard was known for his "sound judgement and creative thinking, passion for academic excellence and zeal for effective and fair governance", as well as for bringing a light-hearted touch to meetings with his cartoon slides.

Born in London in 1946, he worked for the BBC as an engineer before going to the University of Leeds in 1969 to study for his undergraduate degree in electrical and electronic engineering.

He graduated in 1972, and remained at Leeds for the rest of his career. In 1974, Professor Pollard was appointed lecturer in the department of electrical and electronic engineering, and he went on to complete his PhD in 1980. Other promotions followed. He was made senior lecturer in 1985 and professor of high-frequency measurements in 1995.

His continued service to Leeds was recognised with his appointment as head of the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering in 1999, and a further promotion, in 2002, to dean of the Faculty of Engineering.

Professor Pollard retired in 2010, and received the title of emeritus professor on stepping down from his other roles.

His contribution to his academic subject, which included 10 books, 150 refereed publications and three patents, was noted far beyond his university.

Professor Pollard was made a fellow of the US Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 1997 and he was awarded the Measurement Prize by the UK Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1999; this was followed by the award of the IEEE Third Millennium Medal in 2000.

In addition to being made a fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Professor Pollard was elected a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2005.

In a tribute, colleagues at Leeds say that Professor Pollard's "clarity of vision and strength of purpose" left the faculty he led in a strong financial and academic position.

"Roger was a warm, witty and wise colleague, respected and liked throughout the university. His conviviality and collegiality were reflected in his lengthy stint as steward of the Senate Dining Club," it says.

"Annual faculty planning meetings were much enlivened by his personal portfolio of cartoon slides. Within the wider university, he was a strong supporter of multi-disciplinarity and made many thoughtful and effective contributions to academic debate in senate."

Moshe Kam, president of the IEEE, also paid tribute to Professor Pollard: "He was a highly eloquent and persuasive speaker, not shying away from expressing strong opinions and decisive plans that often flew in the face of conventional wisdom and challenged the existing order."

Professor Pollard died on 3 December 2011 after a short illness. He is survived by his wife, Anne, and two daughters.

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