Chair: Grainger Chair in Electrical Engineering
The Grainger Chair in Electrical Engineering was inaugurated in 1998 through the generosity of The Grainger Foundation Inc., a private foundation established by William Wallace Grainger (BSEE '19). In 1927, Grainger founded W. W. Grainger Inc., a leading distributor of industrial and commercial equipment and supplies. Previously, The Grainger Foundation had endowed the Grainger Professorship in Electrical Engineering. In addition, The Grainger Foundation has given many gifts to the College of Engineering to support student fellowships and awards, to establish and equip labs in the ECE department, to build the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center, and to renovate Engineering Hall.
In his introduction of Sauer, former ECE Head Steve Kang praised Sauer's dedication to education. "Pete's enthusiasm for teaching is unmatched," said Kang. "Even his graduate adviser, Professor Heydt, credits Pete for inspiring his own teacher to work to his potential. Pete's devotion to education goes well beyond the U of I classroom. As a program director at NSF, Pete was instrumental in bringing together new initiatives for power engineering education and research. In particular, he helped create an industry-university collaborative research center on power systems."
In his remarks, Sauer expressed appreciation for the honor being bestowed upon him. "When I told my father I was going to become an electrical engineer, he asked, 'What is that?'" Sauer said. "And I honestly said, 'Well, I'm not really too sure, but I'm going to become one anyway.' If I had known, I would have quoted Bill Everitt and Ed Jordan, who used to say, 'It's what they teach at the University of Illinois.' This university is an incredible breeding ground for training top faculty members. As Nick Holonyak says, 'We stand on the shoulders of giants.'"
A faculty member since 1977, Peter Sauer is an expert in power system dynamic modeling and simulation, power system stability, and analysis and control of electric machines. He received a BS in 1969 from the University of Missouri at Rolla and then served four years in the U.S. Air Force. He received an MS in 1974 and a PhD in 1977 from Purdue University.
From 1991 to 1992, Sauer served as the program director for power systems at the National Science Foundation, where he received the Engineering Directorate’s first Cooperative Team Effort Award. A Fellow of IEEE, Sauer was presented with its Power Engineering Society Outstanding Power Engineering Educator Award in 1997.