Chairs, Professorships, and Faculty Scholars

Professorship: AMD Jerry Sanders Chair in
Electrical and Computer Engineering

Advanced Micro Devices, a global supplier of integrated circuits, announced in October [2001] that it is providing a $2.5 million gift to ECE in the form of an endowed chair. Named for the company's cofounder and ECE alumnus, the W.J. "Jerry" Sanders III-Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Endowed Chair will support the scholarly and research activities of a world-class faculty member.

"Every chair brings honor to the department and to the chair holder, and the Sanders-AMD chair is no exception," said ECE Head Richard E. Blahut. "To have the names Jerry Sanders and Advanced Micro Devices tied to our department in this way brings prestige and establishes an enduring relationship."

Sanders (BSEE '58) worked for Douglas Aircraft and then for Motorola before joining Fairchild Semiconductor in 1961. Sanders eventually became head of Fairchild's worldwide sales and marketing. In 1969, he and seven former colleagues from Fairchild founded Advanced Micro Devices. He served as chairman and chief executive officer of the company for 33 years from its inception until his retirement as CEO in 2002.

AMD has become a leading U.S.-based semiconductor manufacturer. The Wall Street Transcript named Sanders the Best Chief Executive Officer in the semiconductor industry for the years 1983, 1984, and 1985, and runner-up in 1991. Sanders received the Robert N. Noyce Award, the industry's highest honor for leadership, from the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) in 1998, and in 2001 he joined a select group of high-tech leaders who have received the Medal of Achievement from the American Electronics Association, the nation's largest high-tech industry association.

Faculty: Wen-Mei Hwu

ECE Professor Wen-Mei Hwu

ECE Professor Wen-mei Hwu was invested as the first W.J. “Jerry” Sanders III–Advanced Micro Devices Endowed Chair in Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) at a ceremony March 11, 2004, on campus. An endowed chair is the highest honor bestowed on university faculty.

“It is a privilege to further the educational excellence of my alma mater, honoring one of the nation’s best educators, and creating a lasting legacy of innovation and competition,” said Sanders. “Professor Hwu has demonstrated throughout his career a dedication to his students and a commitment to the advancement of technology that makes him the ideal first recipient of this chair.”

An expert in computer architecture and compilers, Hwu directs the Illinois Microarchitecture Project using Advanced Compiler Technology (IMPACT) research group. IMPACT provides architecture expertise and compiler prototypes for the microprocessor industry. He is best known for his contribution to the development of instruction-level parallel processing techniques that have been adopted into many of today’s microprocessor products.

“The endowed chair is a tremendous gift from AMD to the University of Illinois, honoring Mr. Sanders,” said Professor Hwu. “It will greatly impact the education and research achievements of this institution for many generations to come. I am grateful that my colleagues selected me as the first steward of this magnificent gift, and I intend to leverage this resource to pursue educational and technological advancements important to the semiconductor industry.”