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Juan María Egaña: "I have always tried to maintain a close relationship with the students".
The veteran heat engine professor is retiring after 40 years as a professor at Tecnun
Juan María Egaña says goodbye today, August 31, to 40 years of teaching at the School of Engineering of the University of Navarra in San Sebastian. The first course in which he taught Thermal Engines at the University of Navarra inTecnun was in 78/79, a task he combined with his work as an engineer in the prestigious company CAF.
In recent years he has been in charge of supervising the team of students who each year design a single-seater to compete in Formula Student. "My job was to make sure they worked in an organized way," Egaña explains. But not only that, he was also in charge of pointing out to the students of Tecnun eRacing, and previously to those of Motorsport,"what their attributions and responsibilities are within this project", and he insisted on the importance of documenting things in order to have work in advance for the students who would enter the project the following year.
Because for Egaña, the first objective of Formula Student is clear: "the first thing is to train the students, to get used to working as in a company", which for the veteran teacher is not just a matter of "signing on", but of having certain requirements and meeting them. "And for this, procedures and planning are necessary," he stresses. He goes on to outline the phases of a project: "think, outline and do".
If he could go back in time, Egaña is clear that he would go back to being a teacher of Tecnunbecause it has been a "very interesting" experience. In '77 he received a call from Patxi Tejerizo to ask him if he wanted to work at the School and he didn't think too much about it. He said yes, right away. And what he highlights most about his work now, looking back forty years later, is "having been able to enjoy dealing with the students and the rest of the professionals who work at the school. Tecnun". For this teacher of engineers, "it is very nice to see students stop you in the street, recognize you, and say: you were my teacher".
For his part, Egaña always wanted to give his teaching an industrial and real point of view. "Not just formulas," he exclaims with a smile. He was even willing to give private lessons to those students who found it more difficult. "In short, I have always tried to maintain a close relationship with the students," he emphasizes with a touch of emotion in his voice. And many students have passed through his classes. Not in vain, his oldest student was from the year 36... "he was older than me, even", he says without being able to suppress a laugh. "I've even had to teach former classmates of mine," he adds.
Within the School, Egaña has one name very much in mind, to which he refers with gratitude: Emeterio Vera, who was head of the Mechanics Department. "I know the School well because I entered more than 50 years ago, first as a student and later as a teacher", so Egaña has not only taught at Ibaeta, but also on Urdaneta Street (where the first School was located, in what is now the Koldo MItxelena public library).
In addition to his work at CAF and his classes, during these 40 years Juan María Egaña has also had time to write two books, one on engines and the other on turbines. "I spent more than 2,000 hours on the first one," he says. "Besides, it has to be updated every three years so that it doesn't become obsolete, but I don't think I'll continue with it anymore." From now on, the professor will have more time to devote to his other passions, which he has neglected in recent years due to lack of time: philately, numismatics, bonsais... "and, of course, music and spending more time with my family".