The academic and engineering spheres were recently shaken by the news of the passing of Roger Pollard, a highly regarded British engineer and a dedicated volunteer of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). This article examines the circumstances of his death and the contributions he made to his field during his lifetime.
Roger Pollard, who at the time of his death was serving as the Secretary of IEEE and a member of its Board of Directors, is remembered for his distinguished career and service to the engineering community. He was deeply involved with the IEEE, having held various leadership positions across its committees and boards. His death was officially announced by IEEE President Moshe Kam, who expressed deep sorrow at the loss of a key figure in engineering and education.
In his professional capacity, Pollard had a rich and varied career. Prior to his passing on December 3, 2011, he was the Agilent Technologies Chair in High-Frequency Measurements at the University of Leeds, where he also served as the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering until September 2010. His research encompassed a wide range of topics that included microwave and millimeter-wave circuits, terahertz technology, and non-linear characterization, among others.
One of Pollard’s crowning achievements was his role in the development and launch of the IEEE Xplore digital library. As Chair of the Technical Activities Board in 2010, he was instrumental in the creation of this online repository, which has become a crucial resource for technical information and research, widely accessible to scholars and professionals around the globe.
Pollard’s dedication to the IEEE extended over 25 years where he was celebrated not only for his engineering acumen but also for his broad intellectual interests. Colleagues and friends knew him as someone who could elevate a conversation with his knowledge across various disciplines, including literature, language, arts, law, political history, and economics.
He was a passionate individual, known for his eloquence and persuasive speaking abilities. A staunch proponent of making the IEEE a more globalized entity, Pollard advocated for structural reforms aimed at bolstering the organization’s effectiveness and embracing diversity. His advocacy for these causes was a testament to his belief in the power of collective effort and the importance of inclusivity within the engineering sector.
Pollard’s life extended beyond his professional achievements. He shared his life with his love, Connie Brooks, and his family, who deeply felt his passing. His obituary also noted that he passed away peacefully on the evening of March 30, 2015, and is survived by his family, his sister Sonia, and his cherished dog, Shadow Boy.
Regarding the question of whether Roger Pollard’s death was a suicide, there is no evidence or official statement to support this claim. Official communications attribute his passing to a terminal illness with which he was diagnosed in October 2011. It is imperative when discussing such sensitive topics to rely on factual information and refrain from speculation.
Roger Pollard’s death marks the loss of an influential and dedicated figure who made lasting contributions to the world of engineering and the IEEE. His legacy is characterized by his commitment to advancing the field and the impact of the projects he championed. It is a stark reminder of the transient nature of life, even for individuals who have had a significant influence on their professional communities.