Leonhard Martin Wedepohl

BSc, PhD, FIEE, P.Eng, C.Eng, Dean of Applied Science Emeritus, UBC
1933 - 2013

Cherished husband of Sylvia of Kelowna, father to Martin (Janet Kearns) Bowen Island, and Graham (Pat Allinson) Vancouver, stepfather to Daniel Baron (deceased), Dr. Lorraine Baron (Dr. John Grodzki) Kelowna and Roger Baron (Darcy McFadden) Vancouver, brother of Dr. Peter Wedepohl (Adrienne) Western Cape, RSA, and brother-in law of Denis St Jean (Mary) Ottawa.

In 1953, Martin obtained his BSc Engineering from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. His research in power line carrier protection earned him a PhD from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) in 1957, and resulted in a worldwide reputation in power line carrier protection and an illustrious career in industry. He spearheaded projects in England, South Africa, Switzerland and Mexico.

His academic career began in 1964 at UMIST where he quickly rose to head of the Electrical Engineering Department. His main area of research was in the theory of wave propagation in multi-conductor transmission lines. From 1970 to 1974 he was the British member of the CIGRE (Conseil international des grands reseaux electriques). He was appointed the Canadian Regular Member in 1975.

In 1974 he was appointed Dean of Engineering at the University of Manitoba. He served as pro-tem Chairman of the Board of Manitoba Hydro Electric Corp and established the Manitoba High Voltage Direct Current Research Laboratory and the Manitoba Micro- Electronics Institute. He received The Province of Manitoba “Order of the Bison,” and was conferred “Honorary Citizen of the City of Winnipeg” in recognition of the high esteem in which he was held.

In 1979, he was appointed Dean of Applied Science at UBC. He served as a member of the Science Council; the Arts, Science and Technology Council of BC; and the BC Hydro Electric Corporation. In 1985, he was appointed chairman of a task force by the Federal Minister of State for Science and Technology. His report led to the establishment of CIIT (Canadian Institute for Industrial Technology).

Upon retirement in 1998, he was conferred the title of Dean of Applied Science Emeritus, UBC, and adjunct professor at the University of Manitoba. He continued his research cooperating with the Manitoba HVDC Centre, and the universities of Manitoba and Stellenbosch.

In 2000, he became chairman of U2000, an organization that was successful in establishing UBC’s Okanagan campus (UBCO) in Kelowna in 2005. He was a board member of the Okanagan Partnership and co-chair of the Knowledge Cluster group that was successful in establishing the engineering faculty at UBCO. His computer program for analyzing the high frequency performance of power line carrier communications system was applauded by Eskom in South Africa and by the HVDC Centre in Manitoba. His legacy continues to inspire.