Professor Emeritus Angus Hamilton looks back on his time at UNB as he turns 100

Author: UNB Engineering

Posted on Apr 19, 2022


At a time in his career when he might have been looking forward to a quieter life, Professor Emeritus Angus Hamilton came to Fredericton in 1971 to take on the role of Chair of the Surveying Engineering Department (which became the Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering many years later). For fourteen years, his leadership became crucial to building and sustaining the international acclaim of the department, which attracted amazing students, faculty and research associates who fundamentally changed the world of surveying and mapping, geomatics and geodesy.

Angus had completed high school in Ontario in 1939 and went into service during World War II as a radar technician. After the war, he became a surveyor with Canada’s national mapping organization. Surveying and mapping were crucially important to postwar development and, for a country as large and geographically diverse as Canada, technologies and skills first designed for war (including radar and the digital computer) proved invaluable.

When he was recruited to come to UNB, Angus recalls, “I thought it was absurd! I knew of the good reputation of the department, and I knew that the young, bright faculty all had PhDs. I did not. But they must have seen something in me and my experience.”

It turned out to be a good decision. The contribution that Angus made to the department and to the broader community was both unique and profound.

President and Professor Emeritus John McLaughlin remarks that, “on Angus’ watch, SE evolved into perhaps the best academic department in its field on the planet. And without question, the academic leadership crucial to achieving this pinnacle was provided by him. While in many ways quiet and unassuming, it nevertheless was his character, experience, breadth of knowledge and connections, together with his seemingly endless energy and drive that drew a world-class team of scholars together and sustained them in a highly complex and competitive environment.” He was the conductor of the world class orchestra of UNB’s Department of Surveying Engineering.

After his retirement, Angus and his wife Margaret remained in Fredericton, cultivating a rich network of friends and contributing to the community in so many ways. They continued to run an apple orchard and even to this day Angus mans the orchard’s sales table. Angus has also written or contributed to a slew of books on the history of surveying in Canada, his involvement in WW II, and the Hamilton clan in Canada and beyond.

On the occasion of his 100th birthday in April, 2022, Angus launched his third volume of memoirs, and was the toast of many friends, colleagues and family who came together to celebrate his extraordinary life. Of his time at UNB, Angus remarked, “It was a fantastic capstone for my career.”

We raise our glasses high to Professor Emeritus Angus Hamilton.