At the age of 77, Sushil Kumar Dhawan, a former Chief Engineer at CPWD defended his theses for doctorate at Civil Engineering Department of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi last month. Now, Dr. SK Dhawan, who is also a Visiting Professor in this department, has become one of the oldest persons to qualify with Doctor of Philosophy or PhD from the Delhi-based engineering and technological institute.
Dr. Dhawan completed his PhD on "Expected remaining life of existing reinforced concrete building structures" under the supervision of Prof. B Bhattacharjee and Prof. Suresh Bhalla of Civil Engineering Department, IIT Delhi.
Dr. Dhawan, who has been responsible for planning, design and construction of roads and bridges in various parts of the country, said his work is very much relevant in the present day scenario.
Dr Dhawan was born in 1942 in a village named Meki Dhok in Campbell Pore district in undivided Punjab (now part of Pakistan).
He migrated to India at age of 5 in 1947 as a refugee.
Due to financial problems in the family, he had to take up job at the age of 18. Along with schooling he continued vocational education at ITI, and started working as draughtsman with CPWD in April 1961.
He had to study below trees, sometimes in kerosene lamp and sometimes under streetlight, accoriding to him..
Undeterred by harsh circumstances, he enhanced his qualifications by studying for AMIE and became graduate Junior Engineer in 1965. Further, he started preparing for Indian Engineering Services of Union Public Service Commission and then cleared the exam in 1971 to become Class 1 officer.
Along with his service Dr Dhawan completed a part time M.Tech, with distinction, in 1982 from IIT Delhi.
In 1987-88, he did Masters in Management of Urban Development from Birmingham University, U.K., with the help of a Commonwealth scholarship.
In 1995, he completed his M.phil in Project Management from Panjab University.
10 years after retirement as Senior Chief Engineer, he joined for P.hD at IIT Delhi in 2013 to complete it recently.
"In this 'young age' I found motivation from within and it was encouraging to work with a lot of young minds of a premier institute like IIT," Dr. Dhawan said about his journey from ITI to IIT.
After the retirement from CPWD, he has been delivering lectures in various engineering institutes on safety of structures, sustainability, project management and arbitration and also received various awards for his achievements.
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