Bengal Foundation mourns the passing of National Professor Dr. Jamilur Reza Choudhury. A renowned engineer and educator, he was the current Vice-Chancellor of the University of Asia Pacific.
Born in Sylhet in 1943, Jamilur Reza Choudhury completed his BSc in Civil Engineering in 1963 from the Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET), with honours. He obtained his MSc in Civil Engineering and PhD from the University of Southampton, UK, in 1968.
Dr Choudhury joined BUET as a Lecturer in 1963. As Professor, he headed the Department of Civil Engineering, and later became the Dean of the Faculty and the Director of the Computer Centre. In 2001, Dr Choudhury- better known as JRC – joined BRAC University as its first Vice Chancellor and relinquished the position on completion of nine years of his tenure. He was awarded a Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellowship in 1974 and spent a year at the University of Surrey, UK, as a Visiting Associate Professor. He was awarded Doctor of Engineering (Honoris Causa) degree by Manchester University in 2010.
Dr. Choudhury authored over 70 papers to his in international journals and conference proceedings related to inter alia tall buildings, low-cost housing, earthquake resistant design, cyclones and storm surges, retrofitting of structures, IT Applications and Policy. He acted as consultant to a large number of national and international agencies. He was a Member of the Panel of Experts advising the Government, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and OECF, Japan for the Bangabandhu (Jamuna) Bridge; he headed the International Panel of Experts for Padma Bridge. He was the Team Leader for the Multipurpose Cyclone Shelter Programme and prepared the Master Plan for Cyclone Shelters in the coastal areas of Bangladesh. As Adviser (Minister) in the Non-Party Caretaker Government in April, 1996, Dr. Choudhury was in charge of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and the Ministry of Water Resources.
Dr. Choudhury was Convener, Committee on Export of Software and Data Processing Services (1997), Convener, Committee for Formulation of IT Policy for Bangladesh (1999 and 2008), Convener, ICT in Higher Education Group formed by Ministry of Education (2005). He was a member of the IT Task Force headed by the Prime Minister (2001–09). In January, 2007, he was made Convener of the Committee for Preparation of Voter List. He was president of the Bangladesh Mathematical Olympiad Committee.
A widely respected teacher, educator and technical expert, Dr. Choudhury headed many high-powered government and professional bodies, and was involved with several local and international organizations. He received numerous awards during his illustrious career.
In 2017, Dr. Choudhury was awarded Ekushey Padak by the Government of Bangladesh in the category of science and technology. He was appointed National Professor in 2018.
National Professor Dr. Jamilur Reza Choudhury passed away in the early hours of 28 April 2020, after suffering a cardiac arrest.