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UNB pioneers remembered

UNB recently lost two pioneers within the field of engineering.

Robert “Bob” Scott and Robert “Bob” McLaughlin are currently being remembered by the UNB community after their passing in late December.

Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Bob Scott would go on to become a visionary in biomedical research. He taught electrical engineering at UNB for 34 years and founded the Biomedical Institute of Engineering, which marks its 50th anniversary this year.

“He founded the first research institute at UNB. He was a pioneer and a visionary in the field. He basically invented the field of powered upper-limb prosthetics,” said Kevin Englehart, director of the Institute.

In total, 202 graduate-level students have passed through the institute.

But Scott’s contribution to his field lies far beyond what he accomplished at UNB. He spearheaded studies in the control of prosthetics with residual muscles.

“He created a whole research institute that simply never would have existed. There were no artificial limbs at all for people with amputations that would do anything until he came up with the idea of controlling them with residual muscles,” Englehart said.

Outside of campus, Scott was a lively man.

“He enjoyed camping, boating, building boats, photography, music. Quite an extensive list,” said Joan Scott, Scott’s wife.

Joan Scott said that she is most proud of him for founding the bioengineering institute.

Bob McLaughlin was a prominent engineering professor at UNB.

McLaughlin faced several struggles early on in life. Orphaned at the age of four, higher education wasn’t a promised pathway for McLaughlin. However, he became a recipient of the Lord Beaverbrook Entrance Scholarship, which allowed him to begin attending UNB in 1939.

After earning his degree in engineering and serving during World War II, McLaughlin returned to UNB campus as a civil engineering professor. He and three other colleagues formed the heart of the department, and later created ADI Limited, an esteemed engineering firm.

“He made a big difference at UNB both within the engineering faculty but also beyond. He was a very successful professor and helped to build the civil engineering program at UNB,” said Bob Skillen, vice-president of advancement at UNB.

McLaughlin made an effort to give back to the community which gave him so much. He established the R.H.B. McLaughlin Trust, a fund for the Beaverbrook Scholars Award.

Like Scott, McLaughlin was also very active off and on campus. During his university years, McLaughlin excelled in several sports including boxing, rugby and track and field. After graduation, he continued to be active.

“He curled, he golfed, he did a lot of things — a very active man,” said Gail McLaughlin, McLaughlin’s wife.

But most of all, Gail McLaughlin said she is most proud of him for being an excellent husband and father.

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