Wits University has announced the passing of Barry Dwolatzky, a pioneering figure in the ICT sector. He was 71.
Describing him as “an inventor, a strategist, a humanitarian and a loyal Witsie, Wits said in a statement on Tuesday that Dwolatzky dedicated more than 50 years of his life to the university.
“His passing is a great loss to the Wits community where he touched the lives of students, staff, researchers, academics, industry partners, innovators, entrepreneurs and friends in so many ways,” the statement said.
“In addition to his many achievements and awards, he will be remembered for his humility and humanity, and his ability to make every person with whom he came into contact feel special.”
Dwolatzky most recently he served as director of innovation strategy in the office of the Wits deputy vice chancellor (research and innovation), where he used his knowledge and a network of local and international collaborators to drive the strategy that supports research, innovation and entrepreneurship at Wits.
“He was instrumental in conceptualising, developing and imagining the Wits Innovation Centre, which was launched in April this year,” the statement said.
He was a professor (emeritus) in the School of Electrical and Information Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment. He was founder and director of the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) and the founder of the Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, the university’s digital innovation hub in Braamfontein.
A Wits alumnus, Dwolatzky started his undergraduate studies at Wits in electrical engineering in 1971. He went on to achieve his PhD in the subject.
After graduating, he left South Africa in 1979 and spent a decade in the UK as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, Imperial College London and the GEC-Marconi Research Centre.
Over this period, he worked on several large software research and development projects.
He returned to Wits as an academic in 1989, worked his way up the academic ladder and became a full professor in 2000. He continued with his teaching and research activities until very recently, Wits said.
In recognition of his contribution to the South African IT industry, Dwolatzky was named the South African IT Personality of the Year in 2013. In 2016, he received an award for distinguished service to IT from the Institute of IT Professionals of South Africa as well as the vice chancellor’s Award for Academic Citizenship.
The Wits flag above the Great Hall will fly at half mast on Wednesday in honour of Dwolatsky, who passed away on Tuesday after a three-week stay in hospital. He is survived by his wife Rina and children Leslie and Jodie Dwolatzky. — (c) 2023 NewsCentral Media