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Professor Andy Mular

$128,600.00 (raised so far)

About Professor Andy Mular

Andy was born in Beulah North Dakota.  He had humble beginnings, growing up in Butte, Montana, the second oldest in a family of four boys and two girls. His father worked when he could in Butte as an underground miner, struggling to bring in enough to feed his growing family during the Depression. His mother ruled the roost and managed to keep them fed and under control. She imbued a strong work ethic and the drive to continuously improve in all of her children; in fact, two of his brothers and a sister also became educators.

At the age of 17 Andy joined the US Marine Corps serving in the Korean War as a Sergeant in the 1st Marine Division Reconnaissance Company. Upon his honorable discharge in 1952 he used the GI Bill of Rights to attend the Montana School of Mines. He received his Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in 1957, married Ruby Eggebrecht in the same year, and in 1958 they had their first child and Andy completed his Masters Degree.  Andy was passionate about high academic achievement in Engineering, but also appreciated the Arts and understood the importance of social activities. During his six years at the Montana School of Mines he was recognized in the Students Who’s Who, was the editor of the school paper, a member of the Glee Club, and played the underdog hero J.J. Sefton in the play Stalag 17. Following his Masters, he was employed as a Research Engineer while pursuing a PhD at MIT under A.M. Gaudin. Many people don’t know this, but he regretted not being able to finish his PhD, because he and Ruby had their second child in 1959 and he simply could not afford to continue his studies.  Following MIT, Andy was a Mineral Research Engineer at Michigan Tech under M.E. Volin where he and Ruby had their third child. He then worked with D.W. Fuerstenau at UC Berkely. In 1963, Andy joined Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario as an Assistant Professor, where he and Ruby had their fourth child. A vivid family recollection is the day the family crossed into Canada as it was the same day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Andy left Queen’s as Associate Professor in 1972 to join UBC as Full Professor. He was Mining and Mineral Processing Department (MMP) Head from 1986 to 1993 and retired as Professor Emeritus in 1996.

Andy was well known worldwide in academia and industry. While an Associate Professor at Queen’s, he was one of the first in Mineral Engineering to use time-share access to main frame computers which he used to pioneer direct search methods to fit mathematical models and solve mass balance problems. He was also one of the first to introduce the Design of Experiments to our industry. He taught a number of summer schools to industry worldwide; perhaps the best known was entitled Mineral Processes: Analysis, Optimization and Control. He and his fellow UBC Mining and Mineral Processing Department colleagues designed and built the Coal and Minerals Lab, a world class facility where he studied AG/SAG milling with a Dominion Engineering pilot mill.

Andy had strong connections with industry, favoring research into real world problems and many of his papers were coauthored with graduates working in industry. These collaborative projects were varied, some of which included summer projects at the Frood-Stobie mill, optimizing control at Chibougamau, and comminution simulation at Brenda Mines, Afton, Lornex (HVC), and Island Copper.  Although best known for his work in comminution and classification, he was also accomplished in flotation and flotation modeling.  Few will remember this, but he did some of his earliest work on the flotation of microorganisms.

Andy’s many and lasting contributions in both education and in industry have been well recognized. Andy was deeply honoured to receive the Walter Gage Award in 1984 and the Robert H. Richards Award in 1990. He was also an SME Publications Board Award winner, both a CIM and an SME Distinguished Lecturer, an SME Henry Krumb Lecturer, winner of the first Art McPherson Award, a CMP-CIM Life Member, a CIM Fellow, and a CANMET Technology Transfer Award winner.

The UBC MMP Department fostered strong relationships with their students who were on a first name basis with their professors. For such a small department, the UBC Miners are well known within in the UBC Engineering Fraternity. Andy was a strong supporter of his students, the industry and its professional associations. He acted in various roles in the CIM and SME including Chairman of the CIM Mineral Dressing Committee, a founding member of the CIM-CMP, and Examiner for both the Ontario and British Columbia Professional Engineering Associations.  One of his Queens students and longtime friend Doug Bartlett recalled how dedicated Andy was as an educator and the relationships he fostered with his students and colleagues.  Doug has fond memories of being invited to Andy’s home In the early 70’s  with his graduating undergrad class and graduate students for a little social gathering and recalls a conversation about Andy’s experience in the Korean war, something he rarely discussed. From the many testimonials his family received with notes of condolence, it is clear that Andy had profoundly influenced the interests and careers of many mineral processing professionals.

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The impact of your support

Andy was a strong proponent of conferences and was involved in many. He is probably best known for the SAG Conference series working tirelessly on organization, reading and editing every paper, and publishing those famous little paperback symposium volumes that got bigger every conference. He even conscripted Ruby into service on more than one SAG conference.  He and the SAG Committee supported a number of scholarships using conference proceeds, and the current SAG Committee has graciously pledged $25,000 to Andy’s Memorial Fund.  Andy was also a key organizer for the Plant Design Conferences. He authored or co-authored more than 90 technical papers, and authored, co-authored, or edited numerous texts including “Capcosts”, “A Practical Guide to Process Controls in the Minerals Industry”, “Design and Installation of Concentration and Dewatering Circuits”, “Design and Installation of Comminution Circuits”, “Mineral Processing Plant Design”, and “Mineral Processes: Their Analysis, Optimization and Control”.

The Professor Andy Mular Memorial Fund will provide support to mining engineering students in UBC’s Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering. Andy’s family hopes that enough funds will be raised from family, friends and others that UBC will be able to create an endowed scholarship, further cementing Andy’s legacy of support for mining students in perpetuity.

We thank you for your support!

Final decisions on award distribution will be made in consultation with the family

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Messages of Remembrance

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  • Andy was an amazing mentor who had high expectations of everyone around him. He was an advisor for my Master's Thesis which utilized factorial design integrating innovative statistical analysis techniques from mineral processing for a mining application. I've kept my notes from Andy's classes which are still relevant today! A real industry pioneer and leader ahead of his time. Rest in Peace Andy!

    Peter Mah, Student
  • All of the prof’s at UBC had valuable real world experience that they shared generously with us students, but few had the depth and breadth of connections that Andy had within the mining industry. There was an extra sense of pride knowing that his texts and conference editions were widely regarded as industry standard. Andy cared for all of us students and it really showed. He was always empathetic with us but at the same time demanded excellence. We used to joke amongst ourselves that before his son Michael could play in the backyard sandbox as a youngster he had to grind the sand himself and then generate a report describing the process. We'll miss you Andy.

    Murray Canfield, 1986 UBC MMPE Grad
  • Andy was a man ahead of his time and a thoroughly enthusiatic Person. His teaching inspired many to push his vision forward to make a real change in how plants are designed and optimized. He was a true pioneer in simulation and a man with a ready smile and love of inspiring students.

    William Thomas, My Thesis Advisor
  • I think all of us who graduated from the Mining and Mineral Process Engineering program at UBC in the 70s, 80s a d 90s will certainly have great memories of Andy and all the professors in the Mining and Mineral Process Engineering program at UBC. I still have some of his AIME textbooks , hauling them across the globe over the last 35 years, including one titled the Mineral Processing Plant Design Symposium published in 1980. Andy's efforts to memoralize this publication and other technical books that he accomplished during his long and distinguished career, to the benefit of our profession and the mining industry, are certainly not forgotten by myself. In my mind they are valuable publication works that continue today to provide valuable technical reference information on the fundamentals of mineral process engineering, plant operations, and all matters related, with the goal of continually improving our industry. I believe Andy wrote those books not to memorialize his work or knowledge, but to foster continuous improvement and operational excellence in mineral processing operations across the globe. Some things stand the test of time and certainly his technical publications have done that and will continue to do so. I want to thank Andy, and all the professors of the Mining and Mineral Process Engineering program for tutoring, mentoring and educating me during my time in the program, and setting me on a life long journey of 35 years working in a great industry that for myself, and family has been been an exciting and truly rewarding life. The experience of working in the mining industry has truly been rewarding and gratifying, thanks to a great post-secondary education at UBC. A donation to the scholarship fund in his memory is a small thanks from myself for the last 35 years. Thank you Andy. Ken Norris.

    Kenneth (Ken) Norris, Student 1983-1986 Mining & Mineral Process Engineering
  • Andy was not only a an educator; he was a mentor to many of us. He was always approachable and willing to humor our sometimes silly questions. He was a good man, and the industry has lost another icon.

    Jim Wickens, Student, 1985-1987
  • Professor Andy Mular joined Queens University in 1963, my second year of engineering when I decided to enrol in the Metallurgical Engineering programme. my field of speciality was Mineral processing and Andy was the main man. Andy was a great teacher and a good mentor. he even offered me a chance to do a Masters degree which I eventually declined. Later, when i was Mill Manager at Similkameen Mines in BC Andy joined UBC and he and I collaborated mostly with me employing his students during summer breaks but also setting up plant surveys. I even employed his gifted son, Michael, who lived with us during his summer at Similkameen. Andy was a great mentor to me and a good friend. he was a credit to the mineral processing industry and will be remembered for many along with his mentors, Gaudin and Fuerstenau, for many decades to come. Vale Andy Mular!

    Roland Nice, Queens Metallurgical Grad 1966
  • I married into mining in 1970 and after 20-odd years of living and working in mining with my husband, we moved to Vancouver and so I decided to throw my hat in the ring as a "mature" student. As others have pointed out, MMPE was a tight knit department with everyone on a first name basis and profs and staff that really cared. Andy was no exception - he took a keen interest in his students and we all enjoyed his classes. Andy volunteered (or drew the short straw?) to chaperone one last 4th year student field trip before his retirement. So off we went to Nevada for our grand tour of a number of open pit and underground operations. We also saw the highlights of Winnemucca and Elko and had one last night in Reno - sorry no photos - what happens in Reno, stays in Reno to coin an old phrase. Andy has been recognized for his many contributions to the industry, particularly SAG milling. I feel privileged to have learned from him.

    Sandy Sveinson, Student
  • Andy was one of a small handful of mentors that I owe much. He got me interested and inspired in performance metrics and plant improvement tools that served me well over my career. He was decades ahead in the advancement of modern tools. It was commonplace, for example, in my young days for metallurgists and operators to just throw away measurements that did not appear to fit calculation of material balances. Andy advanced a better way based on the principal that every measurement has some uncertainty and better balances can be achieved with statistically based methods that include all data along with estimates of measurement uncertainty. Our industry is better off using such methods for determination of production balances as well as balancing of laboratory, pilot and plant experiments. Similarly, he taught me the foundation of Designed Experiments, an important tool, which for years was only used by a few of those connected with Andy. Some 25 years later, when Noranda - Falconbridge implemented Six Sigma across all operations, I was intrigued to learn that much of what Andy was pushing years earlier had become core tools in their successful business improvement program used across a wide range of industry and service business. As everyone who worked on projects under Andy knows well, he was not only great at inspiring his students but also had a way of getting us to dig a little deeper and push the horizon further. Our industry also owes him so much. In addition to being out front on tools related to measurement metrics his leadership, vision and tireless work on SAG conferences resulted in immense technology sharing that served our global industry so well. I personally benefitted from the proceedings when it became my turn to take responsibility for implementation of AG/SAG technology. Proceedings from the conferences were invaluable in my learning the experiences of others through study of the papers carefully edited by Andy.

    Chris Larsen, Student. Class of 1976
  • Docile and I enjoyed Andy and Ruby very much. We shared cruses and many symphonies. Andy was a big supporter of our company RESCAN and we will forever be grateful. Very intelligent and respectful individual.

    Clem & Docile Pelletier, Big fan!
  • I owe Andy alot in respect of his "insistence" for me to participate in his efforts to promote credible and collective symposia, conferences and text books. My career would not have been the same without his friendship, encouragement, and tutelage, even though I was not one of his university students. His memory will live on through his work with the CIM, SME, SAG Conferences, and his unique qualities of professorship. He certainly had a knack for getting the right people involved with their co-ordination, co-operation, and excellent results, both from academia, industry, and engineering . There are two significant tomes which stand out for me: "Design and Installation of Comminution Circuits" (1982) and "Mineral Processing, Plant Design, Practice, and Control" (2002), both of which required a sizeable organizing and review committee under the auspices of the SME, and both of which followed downturns in our industry, particularly in 1982 when my employer at the time was forced to downsize by 80 %. Can you imagine the reaction when I asked to participate in a conference in Hawaii? I was obliged to economize and avoid front-line hotels, and eventually rented accommodation back from the beach but Andy ensured that we joined in the conference program and we managed a couple of excursions to Pearl Harbour and Polynesian settlements. I, and others, will miss him greatly, as will his family.

    Derek Barratt, Fellow, Conference Committees
  • One story that Andy told me was concerning an experience he had while serving with the US Marines as a sergeant in North Korea. I believe he was all of 17 or 18 years old and was sent on an individual reconnaissance mission where he came upon another individual soldier of unknown origin who immediately started shooting at him from a long distance. Andy took cover and returned fire across a gulley covered with low bushes. After a few rounds were fired by each with little chance of hitting anyone they called a ceasefire with hand signals and eventually got together and shared cigarettes for a smoke. Andy was not certain whether the fellow was a north or south Korean soldier and since they could not communicate verbally their meeting was very short. andy had lots of cigarettes and gave his new-found acquaintance an extra pack of Chesterfields when they parted. Later that same day when Andy returned to his Marine unit, a couple of his buddies told him about just returning from a terrific shoot out with a North Korean sniper whom they killed in the battle. They said when they checked the snipers clothing for documents they found a freshly opened pack of American Chesterfield cigarettes and wondered how in the world he had gotten them. Andy never admitted how that had happened but he felt both fortunate and sad at the outcome...Just another story of the absurdity of war and not worth the ribbing he would likely have taken from such actions. Andy was a devoted fellow professor at UBC and we shared many enjoyable years together. My wife and I always enjoyed socializing with andy and wife Ruby. We particularly remember the many years together attending Vancouver Symphony concerts and pre-VSO dinners. I do miss Andy!

    George Poling, fellow professor of Mining Eng at UBC
  • After graduating from McGill Engineering in 1969, I was attracted to do a Masters Degree with Andy at Queen University by his work in process simulation. Since then, I've been a friend and an admirer of Andy's work ethic and cohesive force in the profession. At Queen's I remember stopping in at Nicol Hall on weekends and seeing Andy sitting in his tiny office with a coffee thermos, a cigarette hanging from the lower side of his mouth, and one foot tapping on the floor while diligently preparing a technical paper for a conference commitment. Interestingly, in those days during the week Andy always sported a bow tie. Prior to Queen's, Andy had done research for "giants" in flotation surface chemistry (e.g. Tony Gaudin, Doug Fuerstenau). He confided that during his PhD program at MIT, he investigated his thesis topic to the limits of the universe only to discover a dead end when he got there. That result coupled with his increased family responsibilities moved him to seek full time employment. Perhaps that disappointment in fundamental study also influenced Andy's choice to subsequently focus in down-to-earth areas such as experimental design, mathematical modelling, capital cost estimation, etc. Fast forward to the late 70's when Andy and family visited my home in Trail where further layers to Andy were revealed. He impressed with his harmonica play (taught to Andy as a boy by his younger brother Harry "Tuner") and his proving a respectable tennis opponent. Andy's skill at communication (great "marketer" for mineral processing) coupled with his many technical contributions rendered him a larger-than-life figure. However, I believe he would want most to be remembered for how he treated his students. Andy cared for them personally as well as for their academic achievement (i.e. we're in this together) and they felt it - as alluded to in other Memorial comments. Andy has left a big hole... I invite Andy's students, friends, and associates to provide Memorial comment and endowed scholarship donation fitting to his impact.

    Doug Bartlett, Student & friend
  • We fondly remember our Uncle Andy as an amazing storyteller. He was there to support our family when his younger brother Bill, our dad, passed away at just 64 years old. We were able to forget our grief for a bit as Uncle Andy shared his experiences as a Marine in the Korean War.

    Jan Mular Neighbor, niece
  • This photo as taken in early 1985 has always been one of my favorites. L-R is Brian Richards, Matt McGarry, Brian Cornish, Andy. I believe we had just finished the Iron Ring Ceremony and were feeling bigger and cockier than ever! Now we were simply a younger version of Andy and all we had to do was start wearing sunglasses indoors! The other subtle feature of this photo is the world map in the background - maybe it's still in the MMPE reception office - most of us have enjoyed travelling to many different countries during our careers, which seems very normal because we already knew mining was everywhere.

    Brian Cornish, Student
  • It's an understatement to say that Andy simply influenced my career. The culture and approach to teaching within the MMPE Department revolved around the industry, and there were so many real life (and global) case studies we learned from - nothing was made up. Little did we realise at the time (mid-80's) the extent of Andy's influence on both sides (industrial and academic) of the global mineral processing industry. Of course it was absolutely normal that most of the textbooks we used were written (or collected) by Andy! To this day, his name regularly pops up as a reference for technical papers about grinding circuits. Lastly, the importance of the social side of the mining industry cannot be understated, and Andy's direction that we become involved in various technical organizations ended up being a very important part of my education and career. Thanks Andy.

    Brian Cornish, Student
  • Andy was truly a passionate educator that cared about us students - even as undergrads! I first met him at the student open house back in 1980 - I was 2nd year Mechanical but not loving it so I attended the Mining Dept's open house and got turned on by the prospect of global travel in the industry. Andy got me excited by science of mineral processing - the simulation, controls and analysis side seemed pretty cutting edge. His enthusiasm was contagious! He was one of those figures that significantly contributed to the direction my life took in those formative years at UBC.

    Robert Edwards, Undergrad and Masters Student
  • I heard about Andy long before I had the opportunity to meet him. In the mid 1970's someone passed along to me a set of lecture notes from one of his courses at Queen's (I was at McGill). I devoured the material as it was unlike anything I had been exposed to previously; experimental design, EVOP, statistical analysis and modeling. These approaches to mineral processing were ground-breaking. When I finally met him years later he kindly offered me some additional material, and I also found out that on a personal level he was a real gentleman. He has had a real and positive impact on my career.

    Jan Nesset,
  • Working with Andy and Chris Larsen on the Brenda grinding circuit modelling project in the early ‘70’s had a very profound impact on my career aspirations and I can say with great sincerity and appreciation that Andy was a real and lasting inspiration to me. His contributions to our discipline were many (teaching, research, short courses, conferences, AIME volumes, CIM monographs, books, …) and his willingness to roll up his sleeves and 'dive in' made him one of the most effective agents of technology transfer I have ever known – bar none! His efforts measurably advanced the state-of-the-art-and-science in our working world! I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from him!

    Brian Flintoff,
  • I first worked with Andy on the planning of a comminution test laboratory for a grinding mill builder that I worked for. I have great memories socializing with him to our home in Montreal, and meeting Ruby in Vancouver. His greatest gift to me was insisting (not suggesting) to get actively involved in SME, which provided abundant 'networking' (we called it 'partying' then) with now life-long friends and colleagues that are too numerous to list. His belief in strict professionalism in all work and organizational activities was simply a given. He was a role model and mentor I was extremely lucky to encounter.

    Rob McIvor, Understudy
  • Andy Mular had a big impact on my (and many other) career(s). He was the one that opened us up to financially modeling unit operations and building an overall process and financial model of the mill. He cut slack when needed but also pushed us to make the most of our God-given talent(s). When I ran out of money in my last year it was Andy that said my marks were high enough to apply for a scholarship which I received. It enabled me to finish the year. Thanks Andy for noticing us and guiding us in the right direction.

    Matt McGarry, Student
List of Donors
All Donors
  • SAG Conference Award Foundation

  • Kenneth Wood

  • Michael Allan

  • Bruce Donald

  • Jeffrey B. Austin

  • Bob Gallagher

  • Ted Kenny

  • Neil Crocker

  • Jim Wickens

  • Peter Mah

  • Bill Witte

  • Graham Karklin

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