Professorship: William L. Everitt Professor of Electrical Engineering
ECE Professor Thomas S. Huang was presented with the first William L. Everitt Distinguished Professorship in Electrical Engineering at a campus ceremony April 15, 1996. This professorship honors the memory of the former ECE Department Head and College of Engineering dean, who is nationally recognized as one of the most influential engineering educators of the century. On the U of I campus, Everitt is credited for his visionary leadership, which enabled the department to emerge as a preeminent research and education force after World War II.
Huang, an expert in image processing, computer vision, and visual communication, was appointed to the professorship because of his outstanding research and education contributions. His work involves enhancing visual images and extracting three-dimensional motion information from image sequences.
Since joining the ECE faculty in 1980, Huang has developed courses that provide engineering students with a solid foundation in image processing. He has also shared his expertise with the private sector, consulting for such companies as AT&T Bell Laboratories, Eastman Kodak, and IBM.
The Professorship carries with it financial support and Everitt's 1964 IEEE Centennial Medal, designating him as one of the two outstanding engineering educators of the century. This award will travel to the desks of future Everitt professors.
"This is indeed a great honor, and I am accepting it with deep humility," Huang told the audience at the ceremony. "As we all know, the ECE department is the best in the world, and in my opinion, every one of our faculty deserves such an honor. I am really accepting this on behalf of the whole department, not just for myself, so in that sense, I am accepting not with humility, but with great pride."
In his remarks, Huang also fondly recalls Everitt's penchant for standing on his head--a feat that the dean was well known for. When Huang was deciding where to pursue graduate studies, he told one of his professors at the National Taiwan University that he was going to Illinois to study with Professor Everitt, who was then dean of the College of Engineering. "But in order to be a student of Dean Everitt, you had to be able to stand on your head for five minutes", Huang recounted. "So I went somewhere else."
Huang joked that while he will devote his energy to making further advances in digital communications, his most important goal is to learn to stand on his head.