Although Monash was set to have multiple faculties, the Council had not forgotten that a shortage of engineers and scientists had helped drive the call for the new institution.
The first jobs advertised for Monash were for professors in engineering, chemistry, physics and biology. Ken Hunt, a senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne, was one of Monash’s first appointments when he was offered the Foundation Chair of Engineering; a year later he was promoted to Dean of the Faculty.
Hunt was in charge of filling out the ranks in his new faculty, and he deliberately chose scholars who would complement each other. He emphasised both academic and industry excellence in his appointments. Hunt worked hard to build the profile of the Engineering faculty both in Australia and internationally.
Ken Hunt was one of the University’s first appointments.
He was hired as the Foundation Professor of Engineering in 1960. He had an enormous impact both on the development of the Faculty of Engineering, but also on Monash University as a whole.
Born in Sussex, England, he was educated at Oxford and was awarded a Bachelor of Engineering Science (1941) and a Masters of Engineering (1945). He served as a Royal Engineer during World War II.
After the war, he made his way to Melbourne to take up a lectureship at the University of Melbourne, where he worked with his future Monash colleagues, Louis Matheson and Robert Blackwood.
Hunt made clear Matheson’s intentions for his staff in technical faculties to be educated and not simply trained for their professions. He insisted on research and teaching excellence, and ensured his appointments had strong connections to industry.
He was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Engineering in 1961, and held the role until 1975. Hunt retired from Monash in 1985, but the Faculty of Engineering continues to bear the mark of his leadership.