Karin Sluis is TU Delft’s 2021 Alumnus of the Year

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Karin Sluis, Senior Adviser at Witteveen+Bos and former Managing Director of the company, has tonight been named TU Delft’s 2021 Alumnus of the Year. Tim van der Hagen, Rector Magnificus at the university and President of its Executive Board, presented her with the award in a virtual ceremony. Van der Hagen described Karin, with her vision on infrastructure and the living environment, as having a ‘significant influence on the development of the Netherlands’ and as ‘contributing directly to this development via important functions in the public domain.'

‘The girl who was once inspired by a poster of the Golden Gate Bridge is now a role model of imposing stature,’ says Van der Hagen. ‘She inspires many fellow professionals in her line of work and, hopefully, will also stimulate young people to take up engineering studies. We’re extremely proud of our new Alumnus of the Year.’

Walk of Fame

Since 2011, TU Delft and the Delft University Fund have awarded the Alumnus of the Year prize to past students who have gone on to make their mark in the world of innovation and research. The winners receive a plaque on the Alumni Walk of Fame in Mekel Park, on the university campus. Previous recipients of the award include Francine Houben, Founding Partner/Creative Director at architecture firm Mecanoo, and Ionica Smeets, Professor of Science Communication at Leiden University.

Hydraulic engineering


Karin Sluis studied civil engineering and specialised in hydraulic engineering. After graduating in 1989, she joined Witteveen+Bos as an urban water management specialist. Over the years, she filled various management roles in the fields of water, infrastructure, the environment and construction. In 2013, she became Managing Director. In this role, she worked hard on further internationalisation, so that Witteveen+Bos’s expertise in water could be utilised worldwide; and she put sustainability on the agenda, linking it to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

She also sought to increase diversity: not only in terms of hiring and promoting more women, but also with respect to diversity in nationality, age and educational background. In October 2020, she stepped down as Managing Director. As Senior Advisor, she remains closely involved in determining the direction of the company, such as by developing new business around sustainable investments.

She is currently a member of the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli), a board member of the Dutch Research Council’s Applied and Engineering Sciences domain, and a member of Saxion University of Applied Sciences’ Supervisory Board. In 2015, during the InfraTech fair, she was named the most powerful person in the infrastructure sector by her peers. In 2018, she was named European CEO of the Year, in part due to her commitment to incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals into all of Witteveen+Bos’s projects and activities.