Hugh and Valerie Muir Scholarship
The late Hugh Muir was Professor of Metallurgy at UNSW from 1960 until his retirement in 1983. Hugh was born in Scotland but his parents emigrated to Australia when he was an infant and he spent his boyhood in Yallourn, Victoria, and in Melbourne. He obtained his first degree at Melbourne University in 1944, worked during the War at the Munition Supply Laboratories, and then began a teaching career at Wollongong Technical College. In 1947 he went to New Zealand to establish Metallurgy at the University of Otago in Dunedin. It was there that he met Valerie who had just graduated from that University and had been appointed a lecturer in Economics. They were married in 1949 and soon after went to the United States of America for further study. Hugh obtained his Doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Valerie a Masters Degree from Harvard. They returned to New Zealand, started a family, and finally moved to Australia in 1955, first to Melbourne and then to UNSW. He became Head of School in 1964.
In Sydney, Valerie resumed her career in Economics, first as a tutor at UNSW, and then as a teacher at Wenona School for Girls. After Hugh’s death in 1984 however, she looked for new interests and enrolled at Macquarie University to study English Literature. She completed an honours degree and then pursued research into the writings of women economists in England in the nineteenth century.
Hugh and Valerie were friends of International House from the beginning, and were frequent attenders at Foundation Day Dinners and other functions. Hugh was always interested in students from overseas, and felt privileged to mentor students who, in the early days, came to Australia under the Colombo Plan. His main research was in the strength of steel structures and this led him to make several visits to Asian countries. These included Japan, where he worked at Sendai in the Institute for Materials Research at Tohoku University, and Malaysia where he investigated the failure of dredge buckets used in tin mining. His last research project was as a consultant for the United Nations on tin mining in South East Asia.
Hugh had been a member of the Company of International House and after his death Valerie was asked to take his place. It is this long association with Universities and with UNSW and International House in particular that Valerie wishes to celebrate by the endowment of this Scholarship.
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