Two years back, on this day April 28th, when the nation was experiencing a hard time during a pandemic, they experienced another shock knowing the news of the demise of Dr. Jamilur Reza Choudhury.
It’s undoubtedly a huge loss for the whole nation. He was engaged with many mega projects of the government, including the Padma Multipurpose Bridge at the time he passed away. He also served as the chairman of the expert panel for many other megaprojects, including the First Dhaka Elevated Expressway PPP Project (21 km), the Dhaka Subway, the Karnaphuli Tunnel, the Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway Project (24 km), and many others.
He was the third child of Engineer Abid Reza Choudhury and Hayatun Nessa Choudhury, born in the city of Sylhet on November 15th, 1942.
His formal beginnings of education commenced at Mymensingh Zilla School. Later, he passed his matriculation examination (SSC) from St. Gregory’s School in 1957 and in 1959, he passed his Higher Secondary Examination from Dhaka College. He got admitted to Ahsan Ullah Engineering College for the purpose of acquiring knowledge in engineering, which is now known as BUET. He passed Civil Engineering in first class in 1963. In 1964, he moved to England, received a scholarship, and acquired an MSC in Advanced Structural Engineering from Southampton University. From the same university, he earned his PhD in the shear wall and structural analysis of high-rise buildings. This method is widely used in the world and is popularly known as the Coull and Choudhury’s Method.
In 1975, he was offered the Commonwealth Staff Fellowship to obtain his POSTDOC. From the University of Surrey, where he spent one year as a Visiting Associate Professor, In 1976, he began working as a full-time professor at BUET after arriving in Bangladesh.
Among his titanic contributions, from 1978 to 1979 and 1981 to 1983, Dr. Jamilur Reza Choudhury played the role of the Head of the Dept. of Civil Engineering in BUET, and from 1983 to 1985, he played the role as the Dean of the Faculty of Civil Engineering as well. During this time and later, Prof. Choudhury also held the position of Director of the Computer Centre for about ten years (1982–2005).
Among all his remarkable achievements, Ekuskey Padak for his contribution to science and technology, the Order of the Rising Sun: Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, which is a highly prestigious honour bestowed on him by the Japanese Government, and the JICA Recognition Award for his outstanding contribution to high-profile development schemes in Bangladesh are noteworthy. About 70 of his research papers have been published in various international journals relating to tall buildings, earthquake resistant design, cyclones and storm surges, low-cost housing, retrofitting of structures, IT applications and policy issues. His outstanding works serve as an example to aspiring civil engineers both at home and abroad.
In June 2018, the Bangladesh government named him a National Professor in recognition of his contributions to society.
As per the students of the University of Asia Pacific, he was the most amicable Vice-Chancellor ever. After the ragging-related murder of a BUET student named Abrar, he took a firm stance against ragging in universities.
This great, humble person of morals, dignity, honour, empathy and ethics left the world on a drizzly day in April 2020, leaving his wife, son, daughter, and numerous followers who considered him an idol.