media release

Posthumous degree for student killed in plane crash

October 05, 2011

Brian Fisher, 778.782.7554;
Lynne Jamieson, manager, academic & administrative services, SIAT, 778.782.7442;
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.3210/9017; 604.209.5770 (cell)

Andrew Wade
Photos on Flickr

A Simon Fraser University graduate student who died tragically in a plane crash in Nepal on Sept. 25 will have his Master of Science (MSc) degree granted posthumously during Fall Convocation’s Oct. 6 afternoon (2:30 p.m.) ceremony.

Andrew Wade, 26, a student in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) at SFU Surrey, was returning from a sightseeing trip to Mt. Everest when the plane carrying 19 travellers crashed, killing all on board.

Wade – whose research focused on airplane safety – had just completed his master’s program. He travelled to India to work with a B.C. software company, and was supported by SFU’s India Initiative.

The American-born student, a native of Denver, planned to return in November to take up a new position with The Boeing Company in Seattle, where he had earlier completed co-op terms.

At Boeing, Wade applied his visual analytics skills to significantly impact the company’s approach to airplane safety. His research focused on minimizing the damaging effects of bird strikes to airplanes.

“Andrew excelled at finding visual analytics solutions to real-world problems,” says SIAT associate professor Brian Fisher, Wade’s supervisor.

“During his internship at Boeing, his collaborative analyses related to airplane safety resulted in changes to five different airplane models – and a change to the Boeing pilot training manual. The result will ultimately be even safer airplanes.”

Boeing created a full-time position that would draw on Wade’s abilities.

Says Fisher: “Andrew touched all who knew him with his optimism, ability, and enthusiasm for his work and for the adventure travel that he loved. His warmth and good nature lifted the spirits and enriched the lives of his lab mates and colleagues. He will be sorely missed.”

His degree will be announced Thursday afternoon during the granting of degrees. His father Don, mother Julie and sister Laura will attend the ceremony.

Family, friends and colleagues will hold a memorial service for Wade in Vancouver this weekend. Another is planned in Denver later in October.


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