Denise Venter killed in an accident

The department was shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Dr. Denise Venter on 16 August 2014. Denise, originally from Somerset West, obtained her matric from Parel Valley High School in Somerset West in 1991 and then spent the next 10 years at Stellenbosch University, after which she joined Sasol Technology. Since leaving the university she remained involved in the department, often acting as an external examiner.

Denise obtained her B.Eng (Chemical) in 1995 and passed no less than 16 of her subjects Cum Laude. She then pursued a masters degree under the supervision of Prof. Izak Nieuwoudt and obtained MScEng Cum Laude in December 1997. Denise continued her postgraduate studies and obtained a Doctoral degree in March 2001, again under the supervision of Prof. Nieuwoudt with the thesis entitled “The separation of phenolic compounds from neutral oils and nitrogen bases”. Her doctoral studies contributed significantly towards the development of a separation process implemented at Sasol.  Denise was one of the first two female students to obtain her doctoral degree in Chemical Engineering from Stellenbosch University and the first female student to be awarded a bachelors, masters and doctoral degree, all from our department. Upon completion of her doctoral studies, Denise spent a year as a post-doctoral researcher/part-time lecturer where she assisted in teaching thermodynamics and separation processes.

From Janaury 2002 Denise was employed at Sasol Technology in their Separations group. Here she has played a vital role in many strategic projects. Denise was a brilliant engineer and an excellent ambassador for Stellenbosch University in general and the Department of Process Engineering in particular. In her understated manner she quietly went about tasks delivering excellent work time and time again.

Since leaving Stellenbosch at the end of 2001, Denise has remained in contact with the staff and of the Department of Process Engineering. She has assisted us on many an occasion while acting as external examiner, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. In this voluntary role, she delivered excellent faultless work.

Since starting her studies at the department, Denise was a well-loved member of our chemical engineering family. She was a humble, kind, unselfish and caring person with a deep love for nature. She leaves behind a large gap in the lives of many of our current and previous students and staff members and will be sorely missed by all.

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