At the conclusion of the fall 2011 semester, Dr. Kot Unrug will retire from his position as professor and Director of the Rock Mechanics Laboratory in the Department of Mining Engineering.
The growth and transformation of the Department of Mining Engineering has coincided with Dr. Unrug’s tenure. “Since I came here, mining has come to exist as its own department when it was once just a section of civil engineering. We only had three professors and zero resources,” he says. “With commitment and time, we built slowly and now are one of the primary mining engineering programs in the country. That would not have happened without the commitment of people in the industry and the creation of the Mining Engineer Foundation. Both had a monumental impact because they allowed us to have a material base for our work.”
For Dr. Unrug, retirement hardly means inactivity. As an Emeritus professor, he plans to continue working on research projects with Dr. Kyle Perry, who will take over as Director of the Rock Mechanics Laboratory, and enjoy time off for scuba diving, golf, sailing and skiing. “My principle is to play hard or work hard,” he smiles. “Don’t do anything in between!”
More than likely, Dr. Unrug will also take time to reflect on his career as a professor and the many mining engineering students on whom he had an opportunity to put his stamp of influence over the past three decades. “The best reward of teaching is when you see the students you’ve taught doing well in life,” he summarizes. “That’s better than any of the other metrics we use.”