Al Willis Scholarship

The long association of Emeritus Professor A. H. (Al) Willis with the University of New South Wales began on Australia Day 1950 when he arrived from England to take up a post in engineering at what was then still the University of Technology. Al was associated with many of the developments in the University, becoming the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering of the University in 1956 and, in 1967, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor whose duties were to assist the Vice-Chancellor in a range of responsibilities that did not fit neatly into the faculty structure, such as the University’s library services, a department of military studies in Canberra and the evolution of an autonomous University of Wollongong. Another such responsibility was the Wardenship of the newly-established college, International House. The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Philip Baxter, invited Al to head this new college which aimed to meet the needs of international post-graduate students and, in 1968, Al became the first Warden of International House. There was no salary attached to this appointment but he lived at the House for four days a week and relished the opportunity to assist in providing a stable and nurturing environment for international students.

During his years at UNSW, Al wrote and co-authored some technical books. In the years following his retirement, he was commissioned to write a history of UNSW entitled ‘The University of New South Wales: The Baxter Years’ and later wrote a scholarly yet accessible exploration of the Bible entitled ‘A Search for the Christian God’.

Al Willis