Dr Wilf Pinchin

The mathematician who loves music

Friday, August 18, 2017
Academic honoured for commitment to acoustics and care

Mathematics and music, two passions of Avondale Alumni’s Alumnus of the Year, have been the backbone of the working life of Dr Wilf Pinchin. Likewise, Wilf has been the backbone of mathematics at Avondale College—the 1967 graduate’s tenure as lecturer spanned 40 years.

Born in Castlemaine, Victoria, Wilf completed an education degree at Avondale at the suggestion of his pastor and parents. In the following year, he completed a Bachelor of Science through the University of London then joined the college staff. He lectured for 27 years before a transfer on faculty exchange to Walla Walla College (Washington, USA). Wilf had completed a PhD in mathematics at The University of Newcastle and served twice as head of the mathematics and computing department at Avondale before the transfer. He returned to Avondale as a senior lecturer and would serve in that role until his retirement in 2008.

A reward for Wilf’s years of service has been following the academic development and progress of his students. “It has been an increasing privilege to see them contributing to church and society.”

A musician who played euphonium, trumpet and harmonica, Wilf formed the Avondale College Concert Band. He also joined the Avondale Brass Band and served as its president for several years. An interest in acoustics and in sound engineering saw Wilf design, install and operate the sound systems in the Auditorium and chapels on Avondale’s Lake Macquarie campus and in other local Seventh-day Adventist churches. He handbuilt amplifiers, mixers and speakers and rebuilt the sound system in College Church. And choirs, orchestras and visiting artists have benefited from his experience and his support.

Wilf married Colleen Simms in 1973. Their first date: rat shooting on a poultry farm. “Clearly, it worked!” The couple have two sons, Mark and Bradley. Wilf describes Colleen, for whom he now cares—she has Parkinson’s disease—as patient, as a constant source of encouragement and as an inspiration to colleagues and students.

Avondale Alumni honours Dr Wilf Pinchin for his lifelong commitment to quality education and infrastructure at Avondale and for his selfless devotion to his wife.



Sara Bolst

Sara edited alumni magazine Reflections and served as Assistant Public Relations Officer during her tenure at Avondale College of Higher Education.