Posted: March 4, 2018

Professor Ken Wallace, 1944-2018

The college announces with deep sadness the death of its Fellow, Professor Kenneth Wallace.

Professor Wallace was a Fellow for 40 years. During that time he won the respect of colleagues and students alike as a gifted engineer, an excellent teacher – and a man of considerable charm, warmth and genuine modesty.  

Ken was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1944. He took his undergraduate degree at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, and he worked in the aero-engine division of Rolls Royce and at Oxford Polytechnic before being appointed lecturer in engineering design at Cambridge in 1978. It was then that he became a Fellow of Selwyn.

In the college, he was a supervisor and a tutor – and a colleague whose wise counsel was much valued. In the university he co-ordinated the setting up of the Engineering Design Centre and was its first director. In 1999 he was appointed Reader in Engineering Design, and he became a Professor in 2001. He had been elected in 1991 as a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers; in 1994 a Fellow of the Smallpeice Trust and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering Designers; in 1999 a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering; and in 2007 an Honorary Fellow of the Design Society. In 2011 he received an Honorary Doctorate (HonDEng) from Brunel University.

Ken was married to Annette, and they have two daughters. His life outside academia was rich and varied, encompassing swimming, mountain biking and windsurfing – and a prolific amount of home-brewing. He and Annette were regular attenders at the college chapel.

We will miss him greatly, and we extend our deepest sympathy to his family and friends. 

This announcement has been made by his family:

Ken’s funeral will be held at the West Chapel, Cambridge City Crematorium, CB3 0JJ on Wednesday 28 March at 2.15 pm. All are welcome.

Light refreshments will be available afterwards – details will be in the service sheet.

There will be family flowers only but donations, in lieu of flowers, can be made to either Addenbrookes Charitable Trust Fund or Arthur Rank Hospice Charity by contacting our Funeral Director, Peasgood and Skeates, 617 Newmarket Road, Cambridge, CB5 8PA. Tel: 01223 415255. Donations can also be made via ’Ken’s in Memory profile’ which can be found at:

A memorial event for Ken will be held at Selwyn College, Cambridge at a later date.