At some point in our mortal journeys, most of us wonder what our legacy will be. Will the people we shared time and space with remember us as worthy sojourners? How did knowing us contribute to their lives? Will they say they are glad to have known us?
Loss hit the cements community hard this summer with the passing of Hamlin Jennings after a battle with cancer. Jennings was slated to deliver the Della Roy Award lecture at the Cements Division meeting in Kansas last July.
At the time of his passing, Jennings was adjunct professor at MIT of civil and environmental engineering. He was also principal investigator in the Concrete Sustainability Hub at MIT.
The details of his many and impressive professional successes as a cement chemist are eloquently described in an MIT obituary.
More impressive, however, is the personal impact he had on those he mentored as a professor at MIT and earlier at Northwestern University. His former students—many of whom have taken up the mantle and are now leading cement chemists—created a video tribute to Jennings. Through a series of testimonials, they describe how Jennings taught them to conduct scientific inquiry and to think broadly and without prejudice—what we call today “thinking outside the box.”
Credit: Jeff Chen; YouTube
This video is about 35 minutes long. If you knew Jennings or are connected to the cement industry, you will appreciate the personal remembrances. The tribute was organized by Jeff Chen, chair of the Cements Division and a Jennings protege.
If you didn’t know Jennings, the video will give you plenty to contemplate about how you live, while you still have time to influence how the story ends.