Picture: D.H.L. Keeble MC TD EurIng BSc(Eng)(London) CEng FICE FIHT MConsE
Donovan (‘Don’) Keeble established an Educational Charity in 1989. Following a distinguished career as a professional Civil Engineer in the UK and Southern Africa, as well as military service in which he was awarded the Military Cross for action at Dunkirk. Don had the vision to establish a charity to award ‘scholarships, exhibitions, bursaries or maintenance allowances ... for the advancement of education of persons who intend to pursue a career in Consulting Geotechnical Engineering.’
Don consulted closely with Dr Mike De Freitas of Imperial College on the need for financial support for students at that time. They considered the use to which such support would be put, the things that could go wrong, and the means by which such support might be best directed. Mike Scott, who was the Managing Director of Southern Testing at that time, was also consulted.
Don donated part of his shareholding in Southern Testing (STL) to the Trust, to fund the educational awards. The Trust is administered by Southern Testing, and I have had the privilege of being one of three Trustees for the last 24 years. The awards are independent of Southern Testing and are designed for the educational needs of individual postgraduate students. Don was keen that application for this help should be simple and straightforward. We have given awards to over 50 geologists and civil engineers, predominately to assist funding for Masters degrees in geotechnical engineering.
We would be delighted to hear from candidates who have benefited from our awards, with details of their current employment. We would also be interested to know how they came to hear of the awards, how it helped them at the time, and their career progression. Links to Social Media are available on Southern Testing’s Website for this use.
Individual awards vary according to funds available (reflecting the financial performance of Southern Testing) along with the needs of successful applicants.
Funding of postgraduate studies has become limited since the Trust was set up in 1989. Perhaps it is time for other large and small-scale consultants (and those who feel philanthropic) to set up a similar method of funding, not directly related to their organisation, to finance the next generation of consulting engineers and geologists.
Don felt a very strong and personal need to do this, perhaps as a way of returning to society something he felt he owed. Educational philanthropy is going to be needed and should be a significant source of future funding in our profession.
Chairman and Managing Director, Don Keeble STL Trust/Southern Testing Laboratories Ltd.