Former University of Wollongong academic Keith Tognetti, who left his mark on the city, has died aged 93.
Dr Tognetti joined the Mathematics Department of what was then known as the Wollongong University College (part of UNSW) in 1969, retiring towards the end of 1996.
In 1998 he was made a Fellow of the University for his many contributions to the university and the local community.
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He and wife Irene were passionate about urban planning and instrumental in lasting changes to the city.
In the 1970s the UOW academic was a key player in creating the greenery that is now a much-loved part of the Gywnneville campus.
"After returning from a trip to South Africa and seeing what had been achieved there, I got them to set up an aesthetics committee to concentrate on improving the landscape," Mr Tognetti told the Mercury in 2011.
"It was just a bare open paddock and we started off putting in native plants because they grew fast. Our main reason was to hide ugly buildings."
Dr Tognetti was a part of the campaign in 2009 to save the Wollongong Town Hall from the wrecking ball.
In 2010 as part of the group Reclaiming Our City, he fought to keep the historic Gleniffer Brae in ratepayers' hands, rather than "flogged to developers".
He was also opposed to increases in truck movements on Mt Ousley Road, after having been first on the scene at a 1979 tragedy on the mountain where five members of the same family died after their car was hit by a runaway truck.
Dr Tognetti also opposed the removal of the "bird cage" and wall at the Keira Street end of the mall.
Also, since at least 2008 the Keiraville resident had been calling on action to deal with the deer problem in the escarpment.
Irene said he "stirred the pot no matter where he went".
"He was just very curious," she said.
"His mind didn't sleep. He'd be up in the middle of the night. I'd look around and he wouldn't be here - he'd be down at his work. He just lived for his mathematics and his work."
She said Dr Tognetti often went the extra mile, citing the example of an overseas student.
"He was revered by his PhD students," Irene said.
"He had an Iraqi student after the war in Iraq and he felt it was his duty to really skill that young man so that he could go back to Iraq and have a responsible job. That boy still comes back to visit."
University colleague and former head the Academic Senate Di Kelly said Dr Tognetti pushed for "scholarship" rather than quality assurance or other measures to be at the forefront on campus.
"This was his big and strong idea, that universities have moved away from focusing on good research and good teaching, what he called scholarship," Ms Kelly said.
"Keith was very strong on the notion of scholarship as being central aspects of universities. He was so forthright and so committed - he was a lovely, lovely man."
On behalf of the university, Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Theo Farrell expressed sorrow at Dr Tognetti's passing and passed on his condolences.
"In addition to being a leading academic, Dr Tognetti was an integral part of our university family," Prof Farrell said.
"Often described as a 'remarkable colleague', Dr Tognetti was a model for his peers and an esteemed mentor to countless students.
"Beyond his professional accomplishments, we remember Keith as a dedicated community member, active citizen, and inspiring friend.
"His life and work had a profound and enduring impact."
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