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Queen’s remembers Professor Jon Pharoah

Jon Pharoah
Jon Pharoah

The Queen’s community is remembering Jon Pharoah, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, who died Friday, Nov. 19.

Dr. Pharoah arrived at Queen’s in 2002, shortly after earning his PhD from the University of Victoria. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo.

“Jon was a friend and colleague to many faculty, staff, and students,” says Kevin Deluzio, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “Jon was a person with big ideas and my conversations with him left me inspired to think about what could be. I will miss Jon’s optimism and enthusiasm that served to inspire his colleagues and so many of his former students.”

His areas of study included hydrogen energy systems, carbon dioxide re-use, computational fluid dynamics, energy from salinity differences and membrane separation / water purification.

Dr. Pharoah was one of the founding members of the Queen’s-RMC Fuel Cell Research Centre (FCRC). His early research on computational modelling of the porous materials used in fuel cells made a major contribution to the improvement of fuel cell performance and also brought international recognition to FCRC.

“Jon’s initial work evolved and expanded to hydrogen energy-related technologies that have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which was the underlying motivation behind so much of his work,” says Brant Peppley, a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering who worked with Dr. Pharoah as part of FCRC. “He was a champion for battling climate-change and inspired his graduate and undergraduate students to recognize the importance of this issue.”

Dr. Pharoah had a lasting positive effect on his colleagues in his department, Queen’s Engineering, and across the university and cared deeply about climate change, sustainable energy systems and teaching.

“Jon was an outgoing and friendly person who loved a good debate, particularly in areas he felt very passionate about, such as climate change and sustainable energy systems. It’s worth noting that Jon was sounding alarms about climate change long before the recent, heightened interest in the topic, as evidenced by a thought-provoking TEDxQueensU talk he gave in January 2014,” says Keith Pilkey, Head of the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. “Jon was also passionate about teaching. He often supplemented course materials with discussions on timely topics, and he always prioritized his students’ overall learning experience. Jon will be greatly missed by all who had the fortune of working with him and learning from him.”

A Celebration of Life for family and friends will be held Saturday, Dec. 4 from 10 am-noon at the Outdoor Centre of Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area. An outdoor tribute will commence at 11 am.

Supports are available through the Employee Family Assistance Program, which provides 24-hour support at 1-877-789-7572. The Office of Faith and Spiritual Life can also provide faith-based supports as applicable. Good2Talk (for 24/7 confidential support, call 1-866-925-5454 or text GOOD2TALKON to 686868) or EmpowerMe (24/7 confidential counselling by phone and online at 1-844-741-6389) are also available for support and resources.