Chairs, Professorships, and Faculty Scholars

Chair: Leonard C. and Mary Lou Hoeft Chair in Engineering

The Leonard C. and Mary Lou Hoeft Endowed Chair in Engineering was established in 1997 through the generosity of Leonard C. Hoeft (B.S. Management '47) and his wife, Mary Lou. The couple has also made generous gifts to establish and endow The Hoeft Technology & Management program, a cross-disciplinary minor in the College of Engineering and the College of Business, as well as an endowed Chair in the College of Business.

Leonard Hoeft graduated from Sycamore (Illinois) High School and first attended college at Northern Illinois, soon transferring to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He served in Europe during World War II and returned home to marry his high school sweetheart, Mary Lou. The couple moved to Champaign-Urbana and Leonard received his degree in 1947. 

Leonard Hoeft began his career in 1946 as a trainee in the treasury department with Caterpillar Tractor Company in Peoria, Illinois. Promotions followed and, in 1954, he joined Ziegler Inc., located in Minneapolis, which distributes Caterpillar construction equipment. He served in a variety of roles at Ziegler, including president, CEO, and chairman. The Hoefts have been involved with numerous educational and not-for-profit organizations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

Faculty: Bruce Hajek

ECE Professor Bruce Hajek

Professor Bruce Hajek received a B.S. in mathematics and an M.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.  He has served as a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a researcher in the Coordinated Science Laboratory at Illinois since 1979.  He is a member of the Center for Advanced Study and a Founder Professor of Engineering. 

Professor Hajek pursues basic research in the area of modeling, analysis, and optimization of the physical process of communication. He has worked on several aspects of communication within computer networks, including selection of information paths through a network, resolution of contention for access at a network interface, and fair distribution of network resources among competing information flows. He has worked on time-varying wireless communication channels and communication channels in which information is conveyed in timing. A focus of much of his work is to identify theoretical limits and determine how they might be achieved.

Professor Hajek has served in several roles with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), including associate editor for Communication Networks and Computer Networks for the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, editor-in-chief of the same publication, and president of the IEEE Information Theory Society.

Professor Hajek was a winner of the USA Mathematical Olympiad in 1973 and has received the Eckman Award of the American Automatic Control Council, a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, an Outstanding Paper Award from the IEEE Control Systems Society, a COMCON Award for contributions to the theory of communication, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an IEEE Millennium Medal, and the IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award.  He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the IEEE.