University of Dundee

Emeritus Principal Adam Neville CBE (1923 - 2016)

13 Oct 2016

We are deeply saddened today at the news that Professor Adam Neville, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University from 1978 to 1987, has died at the age of 93.

Professor Neville guided the University through what were extremely challenging times for Dundee, with severe financial difficulties and pressure from many quarters for a merger with other institutions. He strongly supported a focus on research excellence to improve the University’s standing, notably making decisions that led to the emergence of Life Sciences at Dundee as a world leader.

The University presented Professor Neville with an honorary degree in 1998 and one of our most prestigious annual lectures is named after him and held in the School of Life Sciences, in recognition of his key role in its development. I am immensely proud to have given the first Adam Neville Lecture in 1988.

Professor Neville was born in Poland in 1923. In 1939 he escaped from German occupation only to be captured during the Russian invasion and then endured prison and labour camp in the Arctic, eventually travelling alone right across the country to join the Polish Forces under British Command in Persia in 1942. After demobilisation he studied engineering at Queen Mary College, University of London.

He went on to become one of the world’s foremost experts in concrete and his work continues to be cited to this day. In 2008 he received one of The Royal Academy of Engineering’s most prestigious awards – the Sustained Achievement Medal – after devoting nearly 60 years to research and practice in civil and structural engineering all over the world. He was also appointed a Life President of the American Concrete Association, and served on the Council of the Institution of Structural Engineers and as Vice President of The Royal Academy of Engineering (1992-95).

His first book, Properties of Concrete, published in 1963, has been translated into 13 languages and has sold nearly a million copies. In many parts of the world this book is known familiarly as `Neville’s concrete bible'.

Our thoughts are with Adam’s wife Mary at this time. His funeral will be held in London on Thursday 20th October.

Professor Sir Pete Downes
Principal and Vice-Chancellor


The next speaker of the Adam Neville Lecture in 2017 will be Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier from the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology.