Professor Colonel Brian Foxon, OBE, sadly passed away aged 74 in November last year. He had had an illustrious career, having worked for the UK aeronautical industries, in academia and in parallel, with the Ministry of Defence and British Army through the Royal Signals Corp, becoming Colonel with the Territorial Army for the West Midlands in England.
Although he retired some years ago, as Director of International Operations at Glyndwr University, he was still very active in promoting overseas collaboration, especially in regard to research. This is an activity that I well remember participating in when Brian was undertaking a similar role at De Montfort University, Leicester, when I accompanied him on many occasions helping to arrange collaborative agreements with universities and research institutes world-wide. I know that he was particularly proud of the Memorandum of Understanding he established with the Bauman Moscow State Technical University (BMSTU) some 25 years ago. If he was with us today, he would have been very excited about this conference with so many student researchers participating from BMSTU.
Brian was I think as charming in Russian as he was in English, his Irish ancestry providing him with a natural warmth and understanding that enthused his soldiers and students alike, providing them with a level of self-confidence that helped to launch them into successful careers world-wide. He was also a brilliant manager with boundless energy, coupled with formidable organisational skills. Moreover, while his primary focus was on engineering and technology, he was always eager to promote the arts and cultural exchange programs. He was, for example, particularly enamoured with the music of the great Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky (as am I). In this context, I am sure he would not mind the short tribute I now wish to pay to him through music and an icon of the industry he contributed to during his career. This is available at .
24th June 2020
I first met Brian when I came to one of the early ACMTAA conferences, and this was before I came to work at Glyndwr University. As this was during a conference, I also met a great of other colleagues, so my initial memories were mixed Bauman and Glyndwr people side by side. There were two thoughts that struck me:
It was not until a little while later than I came to understand that that wizard was Brian. He would choose a perfect time, and then make some proposal or suggestion, and before I could say "Jack Robinson", my previous plans for the day or the week had been over-written, and an exciting new adventure would be about to start.
I owe Brian a great deal: the relationships he built with Bauman, Samara and Lutsk Universities brought me the opportunity to get to know so many academics and supervise PhD students. The baton is now in my hands: through the organisation of this conference, and future ones, I do hope that we maintain the relationships, and can grasp the opportunities together.
24th June 2020
At the dinner of the ACMTAA 2013 conference
If anyone would like to contribute a message to the please contact Alison.
Brian was a bright, charming person and at the same time a good expert who did a lot to develop cooperation between our universities. He has repeatedly visited Moscow and other cities, met with our teachers and students. Brian has been awarded the sign "For merits to the Bauman University".
Of course, we are extremely sorry that he left us so early.
Head of the Department "Rocket and space composite structures"
Bauman MSTU, Moscow, RUSSIA
25th June 2020
Some years ago, I met Brian at Samara during his visit to Samara University. He was a very courteous and friendly person with excellent knowledge and skills in his job. I was very glad to meet him over and over each time visiting Glyndwr University.
His enthusiasm in building cooperation between universities, people and countries will always be an example to follow for me.
26th June 2020
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.