ECE Department Heads
Samuel W. Stratton
Served from 1889-1892
When the Department of Physics was established in 1889, Samuel Wesley Stratton, who later became president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was placed in charge. Stratton recognized the potential of electricity and related phenomena and supported that newly developing field of technology. Under his direction, the first electrical laboratory was constructed in 1891, and the first courses in electrical engineering were offered. In 1892, Stratton resigned to accept a position in the Department of Physics at the newly established University of Chicago.
Bernard V. Swenson
Served from 1895-1896
In November 1895 the administration of physics and electrical engineering was separated temporarily. Bernard V. Swenson became the first head of electrical engineering. Ten months later, with the arrival of Albert Pruden Carmon in September 1896 from Stanford University as head of physics, the electrical engineering courses were again placed under the administration of the Department of Physics.
Served from 1898-1899
William Esty was named head of the Department of Electrical Engineering in the fall of 1898, when the department was again separated from physics. He served in that capacity for only one year but remained on the electrical engineering staff until 1901 when he accepted a position as department head at Lehigh University.
William S. Aldrich
Served from 1899-1901
William Sleeper Aldrich, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of West Virginia, was employed in the fall of 1899 as professor of electrical engineering and head of the Department of Electrical Engineering, succeeding William Esty. He resigned in 1901 to become director of the Clarkson Memorial School of Technology, Posdam, New York.
Served from 1901-1909
Morgan Brooks, from the University of Nebraska, was hired by the University of Illinois as professor of electrical engineering and head of the department. He served as department head until 1909 and remained as professor of electrical engineering until his retirement in 1929.
Served from 1909-1913
Ernest Julius Berg, an engineer with General Electric Company and a lecturer at Union College, Schenectady, New York, was employed in 1909 as head of electrical engineering. He was enticed to come to Illinois when several large Illinois corporations agreed to supplement his university salary by giving him retainer fees as a consulting engineer. Berg remained as head until June 1913, when he resigned and returned to his former positions with General Electric Company and with Union College.
Ellery B. Paine
Served from 1913-1944
Ellery Burton Paine, after several years of experience in industry and university administration, came to the University of Illinois in 1907 as an assistant professor of electrical engineering. Following the resignation of Berg in 1913, Paine became acting head of electrical engineering and then head of the department, a position he held for 31 years until he retired in September 1944.
William L. Everitt
Served from 1945-1949
William L. Everitt was well known for his many contributions to the field. Everitt came to the University of Illinois with influence, power, and respect. Because of those qualities and the fact that his work in Washington, D.C., had put him in close contact with other top people, he was able to recruit other top researchers to come to Illinois and join the electrical engineering department.
Everitt believed that class size should be kept small and that research was top priority. The design of Everitt Lab reflected his philosophy.
John D. Ryder
Served from 1949-1954
In 1949, when Everitt became dean, the departmental search for a new head led to John D. Ryder, who was on the faculty at Iowa State University. Ryder served as head of the department from 1949 to 1954, when he left to become dean of engineering at Michigan State University. Upon his retirement from Michigan, he moved to Florida, where he taught part time at the University of Florida.
Edward C. Jordan
Served from 1954-1979
Edward C. Jordan came to Illinois from Ohio State University in 1944 with William L. Everitt. During Jordan's 25 years as head, the department continued to grow in several areas. Except for the year of his sabbatical leave in 1965 at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, he served until 1979, then returned to research in the department. He retired in 1988 and died in 1991.
Served from 1979-1985
In 1956, the University of Illinois invited George W. Swenson, Jr., to join the faculty and to design and build a large radio telescope. George W. Swenson Jr. became head of the department of Electrical Engineering in 1979 after Jordan retired. Undergraduate and graduate enrollment peaked at record levels in the mid-1980s. In 1984 the department changed its name to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. When Swenson resigned in 1985 he returned to research providing contributions to the theory, and design of radio telescopes and to radio engineering. Also, he's been working as a consultant at the U.S. Army CERL (Construction Engineering Research Lab) since 1987.
Served from 1985-1995
After earning his PhD from Purdue University, Tim joined the University of Illinois ECE Department in 1965. He served as acting director of Computer Science Laboratory in 1983-1984 and then director in 1984-1986 before becoming head of the ECE Department in 1985.
During his 10-year tenure as head, the department developed new courses in integrated circuits, computer-aided design, and digital signal processing. Trick has since returned to research and has continued to serve the College as interim dean and director of The Sloan Center for Asynchronous Learning Environments (SCALE) and the Anderson Lab.
Served from 1995-2000
Kang earned his PhD in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1975. Before joining the ECE faculty in 1985, Kang had worked for AT&T Bell Labs for eight years. During his tenure, Kang encouraged collaborations with industry in developing innovative programs for research and education. He was very successful in helping the department attract and retain the best faculty and students. Under his leadership, the amount of money available for student scholarships and fellowships doubled, and the number of professorships grew from two to 15. Kang retired and became dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC).
Served from 2000-2008
Richard E. Blahut joined the ECE faculty in 1994 after a successful 30-year career at IBM. His current research interests include communications, signal processing, imaging systems, coding theory, and optical recording. He is the author of a series of textbooks in the general area of informatics.
Served from 2008-2013
Andreas Cangellaris is the department head for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He joined the Illinois faculty in 1997, and he is the M. E Van Valkenburg Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering. His expertise and research interests are the in the area of applied and computational electromagnetic. Cangellaris is co-author of the book Multigrid Finite Element Methods for Electromagnetic Field Modeling. He is a Fellow of IEEE, and in 2001 he received the ECE Faculty Outstanding Teaching Award. Cangellaris ended his time as department head in June 2013 when he became dean of the College of Engineering.
Served from 2013-present
Sanders came to Illinois in 1994 as an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and researcher in CSL. He earned the title of professor in 1998. From 2004 to 2011, he worked as the inaugural director of the Information Trust Institute (ITI), which provides national leadership combining research and education with industrial outreach in trustworthy and secure information systems. From 2008-2013, he was director of Illinois’ Coordinated Science Laboratory, a premier, multidisciplinary research lab focused on information technology at the crossroads of computing, control, and communications. He was also the co-founder of and has been the Associate Director of the Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Illinois’s research center in Singapore, since its inception in 2009.