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Take a visual walk down memory lane here.

1951-1967 1967-19781978-19891989-19921992-20012001-present

 

The history of the Electrical Engineering Department at Lamar University begins with Louis Robert Pietzch, the only Electrical Engineering graduate at the University of Texas in 1907. Pietzch worked for City Light and Power in Cameron Texas and then went to Beaumont High School as a math teacher. Later, as Superintendent of the South Park Independent School District, he conceived the bold idea of building South Park High School with a third story that would house the nascent South Park Junior College. The only other publicly supported junior college in Texas at that time was in Wichita Falls. On Aug. 20, 1932, South Park College was renamed Lamar College in honor of Mirabeau B. Lamar, the second president of the Republic of Texas and the man regarded as the founder of public education in Texas. On Sept. 1, 1951, Lamar College became Lamar State College of Technology, the first junior college to grow into a state-supported senior college. It was also the only state senior college offering extensive technological training in an industrialized area. In fact, the Texas legislature felt that Texas had enough four-year colleges, especially teachers colleges. Many believe that Lamar Tech was created to be the Texas Tech serving East Texas.

 

1951-1967 Lloyd Cherry

 

Lloyd Benjamin Cherry created and nurtured Lamar's EE Department when Lamar became a four-year college in 1951.   Professor Cherry was born in 1915 in Weatherford, TX and after graduating from Weatherford High School, he attended Weatherford Junior College for one year and then transferred to The University of Texas, where he earned a BA in Physics and Math with honors in 1937. After earning his MA in Physics in 1938, he worked as a test engineer for General Electric in Schenectady, New York. Intending to follow in his father's footsteps [His father was manager of the local power company], Cherry joined Dallas Power and Lighting. He quickly realized that he wanted a teaching career. After working at Ranger Junior College as Head of the Math Department, 1938-40, he spent a year at Edinburgh Junior College. At the outbreak of World War II, the Naval Ordinance Lab asked him to come to Philadelphia, where he spent three years working with Brown Instrument Company. After one year as Associate Professor of Physics at Hardin-Simmons University, he came to Lamar in 1946 as head of the Physics department. He earned a BSEE and a professional degree (EE) from Oklahoma State University in 1951 and was asked to head the Electrical Engineering Department in Lamar's new School of Engineering. In 1962, Professor Cherry was elevated to the grade of Fellow in the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and in 1965 he received the Western Electric award for excellence in engineering instruction. The Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation selected him as one of the ten best professors in Texas in 1967. He served as acting Dean in 1967-68 and became Dean of Engineering   in 1968 and led the College of Engineering   with distinction until he died in August, 1974. Cherry was issued more than six patents and in 1958, he helped Douglas Aircraft design a device that reduced acoustic vibrations in jet aircraft to about one percent of the previous level. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in 1969 and in 1971 he was elected National President of Eta Kappa Nu.

 

The Lucas Engineering Building was dedicated October 9, 1951 and boasted state of the art facilities at the time. Professors Cherry and Lyle E. Bohrer offered junior level work in the Fall of 1951 and senior level courses the following year. In November of 1952 the EE Department had 6 seniors, 8 juniors, and 10 sophomores and the first BSEE degrees were awarded in June 1953. The class of '53 included the first female graduate of the department, Constance Oliver, at a time when women were rare in engineering, let alone EE.   In 1955 the BSEE required 149 semester hours, four years plus one summer. The catalog at that time listed three EE faculty: Lloyd Cherry, Lyle Bohrer and Floyd Crum.

 

An affiliate branch of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers was established on April 14, 1955 and a student branch of the Institute of Radio Engineers was established on May 14, 1957. The Engineers Council for Professional Development granted accreditation for the BSEE at Lamar on November 8, 1958.

 

Lyle E. Bohrer attended Lamar College for two years, then completed his BSEE at Rice University. After working for the Naval Ordinance Lab in Washington, DC, during World War II, he joined Lamar's faculty in 1946 as an instructor of engineering drawing. In an oral history interview with Walter Sutton, he remarked that Dean 0. B. Archer tried to offer courses that Mr. Bohrer, as an engineer, was comfortable teaching. These included surveying and statics. He was a master craftsman who built much of the lab equipment for the EE Department and other departments on campus. Robert Carlin says that Mr. Bohrer made Professor Cherry's ideas work with real hardware. He also helped build Lloyd and Kathryn Cherry's home. After three summers at the University of Colorado, he earned a MSEE in 1954. He served as faculty advisor for the IEEE Student Branch for many years. He retired in 1983 and died January 9, 1990.

 

David H. DeSutter joined the faculty in 1952 and died of polio in 1954. At that time polio was considered so contagious that no visitors were allowed. Lloyd Cherry ignored the rules and was with David when he died.

Regents Professor Floyd M. Crum came to Lamar in 1955 from Louisiana State University. Each summer for many years he moved his family to Washington, DC, where he worked for the Naval Research Laboratory. He also did consulting for Sun Oil's geophysical group and the City of Beaumont. He was a radio amateur and sponsored the Lamar Radio Amateur Club. He is remembered for his playfulness and his enthusiasm, "Electronics is Fun!"

In 1956, James Cooke joined the Department. He later earned his doctorate at Northwestern University. Dr. Cooke was the first President of the Lamar Faculty Senate and a Regents' Professor. He served the university as Director of Graduate Studies from 1979 to 1982 and he received a university-wide teaching award from Phi Kappa Phi in 1990. He did consulting work for Texaco, J&J Armature, and Gulf States Utilities.

About 1960, Lamar's first digital computer, the Ladicomp I was built as a student laboratory project. On March 25, 1960, the Delta Beta Chapter of Eta Kappa Nu, the national electrical engineering honor society was installed with 17 members.

 

A Master of Engineering Science (with thesis) degree was first offered in 1962. A Master of Engineering (non-thesis) was approved in 1968. Graduate students that fall included: B. Ray Clausen, James Tarbett, Dennis Huckaby, and Dennis Austin.

 

1967-1978 Wendell C. Bean                                                                                                         back to top

 

In 1967 Wendell C. Bean (LUEE '55) became chair of the department as Lloyd Cherry moved into the dean's office. Dr. Bean left a post-doctoral fellowship in biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan to return to Lamar and was the first Lamar graduate to return as head of an academic department. He received a BA in Math and a BSEE in 1955. As a senior engineer at the Westinghouse Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in Pittsburgh, he did thermal and hydraulic design of naval nuclear reactors for six years. He earned his MS and PhD degrees at the University of Pittsburgh. The next six years at Bettis, he taught graduate courses in dynamics and control of nuclear reactors to engineers and scientists of the Naval Reactors branch of the U. S. Navy. He served as faculty advisor to Lamar's IEEE Student Branch for over 17 years. He also was advisor to Lamar's Tau Beta Pi chapter.

 

The first Doctor of Engineering from Lamar was awarded to Melvin S. Cole in December 1973. This degree places more emphasis on practical rather than theoretical research. A field study, typically done in cooperation with local industry is required instead of the usual dissertation.

 

George J. Michaelides served Lamar as in Instructor in Mathematics, 1955-57. He joined the EE Department in 1957, and in 1961 was an Assistant Professor on leave working toward a PhD.

 

D. Robert Carlin, Jr., received his BSEE in 1956 from Lamar. After working two years for the Convair Division of General Dynamics in Fort Worth, he returned to Lamar in 1958. He earned his MSEE from The University of Texas at Austin in 1965. He spent 15 months at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1969-1971, on a National Science Foundation Science Faculty Fellowship. A Regents Merit Award recognized his outstanding teaching and he served as faculty advisor for Eta Kappa Nu up until his retirement in January of 2002. At his retirement he was recognized as an Associate Professor Emeritus by the University.

 

After retiring from the U. S. Air Force and his assignment as head of Lamar's Air Force ROTC program, Thomas J. Hardy served as Adjunct Instructor in the EE Department from August 1979 through December 1981. He then joined Gulf States Utilities.

 

Educated at Rice University, Joseph T. Watt, Jr., worked for the General Electric Company for four years. He came to Lamar in 1965 after completing his graduate work at the University of Texas, Austin. He developed new courses in digital systems and computers. With the help of Tim Loranc he supervised the department's Sun Computer installation. James Hwang (a doctoral student), Michael Chris Mickle, and Dr. Watt developed material for a digital lab course. Dr. Watt served as Director of Engineering Cooperative Education, 1984-1992. He had U. S. Army Reserve assignments with the Strategic Communications Command and the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development.

 

Ramond Satterwhite came to the department in 1969 from Arkansas via Ohio State University to teach electromagnetics. He left in 1976 to work for Southern Avionics in Beaumont.

 

1978-1989 William R. Wakeland                                                                                                  back to top

William R. Wakeland became chair of the department when Dr. Bean returned to full-time teaching in 1978, came to Lamar from Trinity University in San Antonio. He recruited Jean Ingram, who joined the department Oct. 1, 1980, as laboratory technician [and de facto lab manager] after 28 years in the U. S. Air Force. Dr. Wakeland and Mr. Ingram led the department in an intentional design of laboratory facilities in the major addition to the Cherry Engineering Building, which was finished in 1983. They revised the introductory lab course. They co-instructed this course and made major contributions to the other lab courses in the department.

Faced with increasing emphasis on research and publication and a requirement that each faculty member teach 12 semester hours, Dr. Wakeland conceived the idea of a research professorship. Gulf States Utilities agreed to hire a faculty member half time for nine months and full time during the summer. Lamar paid the incumbent half time for teaching two courses each long semester. Gary L. Viviani held this position from September, 1982, until January, 1988.

 

1989-1992 Floyd M. Crum                                                                                                            back to top

Professor Floyd M. Crum became department chair upon the retirement of Dr. Wakeland in 1989,

 

G. N. Reddy joined the department in 1990.   He came from Michigan Technological University.   His research and teaching interests are VLSI Design, artificial neural networks, digital signal processing, and Kalman filtering.  

Thali Rajashekhara came to the department's rescue in Spring 1992 and again in Spring 1993. He served as Visiting Associate Professor and taught courses in machines, fields, and communications.

Professor Cooke retired December of 1991 after 35 years of teaching.

 

1992-2001 Bernard J. Maxum                                                                                                        back to top

 

Bernard J. Maxum took command as chair of the department when Professor Crum retired in 1992. Dr. Maxum came to Lamar from Rockwell International, where he served as sr. member of the technical staff, project manager and chief of R&D.   His special areas are electromagnetics,   optical engineering, fiber optic communications.

 

Branislava Perunicic-Drazenovic joined the department as Professor in Electrical Engineering in 1993. Dr. D, as she was affectionately known, was a full-time faculty member at the University of Sarajevo until hostilities broke out between Serbs and Croats.  Her interests included power systems, variable structure systems, and graph theory applications in electrical engineering. She returned to the University of Sarajevo in the spring of 2001.

 

In September, 1995, Jay R. Porter came to the department from a post-doctoral appointment at Texas A&M University.   His interests were in biomedical imaging, electromagnetics, antenna design, communications, and signal processing. Dr. Porter left LUEE in 1998 to rejoin Texas A & M in their Engineering Technology program.

Dr. Watt retired in 1996 after 31 years of teaching at Lamar.

 

Christopher Mickle, LUEE '93, joined the department in 1999 after receiving an MSEE and Ph.D. from LSU. Dr. Mickle taught control systems and digital design. He left the department to join Raytheon in 2000.

 

2001-present H. R. Myler                                                                                                            back to top

 

In the fall of 2001 H. R. Myler became department chair and was also named the inaugural holder of the William B. and Mary G. Mitchell Endowed Chair in Telecommunications. Dr. Myler came to Lamar from the University of Central Florida Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) with a double-major in EE and Chemistry in 1975. After a tour of duty in the Army as a Missile Systems Officer, he worked at various industry jobs while pursuing his graduate degrees, the MSEE and Ph.D. from New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Dr. Myler is a recognized authority in image and signal processing.

Professor D. Robert Carlin retired in January of 2001 and was named Associate Professor Emeritus by Lamar University for 43 years of teaching and service to the school.

2002

Ruhai Wang joined the department in the summer of 2002 after graduating from the New Mexico State University with a PhD in computer engineering.

Commencement May 2002, Nasiha Hrustemovic received the Plummer Award.

 

2003

Selahattin Sayil, originally from Pamukkale, Turkey, joined LUEE and began teaching electronics during the Summer of 2003. His PhD was earned in Vanderbilt's ECE program and his areas of research are CMOS VLSI Design and Testing, Testability Techniques, Interconnect Modeling and Optical Interconnects.

In 2003 Charles Garrett (LUEE '59), founder and CEO of Garrett Metal Detectors, endowed two scholarships for electrical engineers, one in honor of Professor Crum and the other in his and his wife Eleanor's name. In 2003 Charles was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Lamar University.

In April of 2003 the IEEE Student Section sent a team to the Region V Conference held in New Orleans to compete in the Robotics Contest. The robot built by seniors Thomas Trenta, Michael Adix, Marcus McGee, Nebojsa Murisic and Erick Trove (all LUEE '03) for their senior projects course won third place. The LUEE robot competed against thirty-one machines from other universities in the region. In the final five, LUEE beat out the University of Houston and Oklahoma University for the third place berth. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology took first and Texas Tech took second.

2004

In April of 2004 the IEEE Student Section sent Brad Breaux, Ryan Crow and Scott Sheppard (all LUEE '04) to Oklahoma City to compete at the IEEE Region V robotics competition. LUEE placed 12th out of 40 teams.

2005

In March of 2005 Mohammed Ahmed and Wade Salazar (both LUEE '05) took 1st and 2nd place, respectively, in the Beaumont Section IEEE student paper competition. They went on to take 1st and third place in the IEEE Region V Eastern Area competition.

In April of 2005 Joseph K. Young (LUEE '06) was named Lamar University's first Goldwater Scholar.

Commencement May 2005, Steven Trahan & Josh Trevino receive Plummer Awards.

 

On September 24th, 2005 Hurricane Rita ravaged Southeast Texas and Lamar University. The Cherry engineering building had roof and water damage, but the department emerged with only minor damage to equipment from the power surge caused by the storm. Classes were suspended for three weeks and the semester did not end until December 22nd.

2006

In April of 2006, seniors Chase Gibbs, Mike Grass, Heather Hudson and Jerry Smith built the robot for the IEEE Region 5 student competition held at UTSA. Chase, Mike and Jerry attended the conference along with Nick Bethard and Joseph Young, who presented technical papers in the student paper competition. Joseph took 1st place with his paper: Photonic Crystal Optical Interconnects.

Commencement May 2006, Don Lyle (LUEE '63) receives the first honorary doctorate bestowed by LU, Worachute Paeng Buhame receives Plummer Award.

Commencement August 2006 Jerry Smith and Joseph Young receive Plummer Awards.

Phil Drayer (LUEE '67) receives a Lamar University Distiguished Alumni Award.

In October 2006, Joseph (LUEE '75) and Linda Domino establish the Joseph F. Domino endowed scholarship.

2007

In April of 2007, seniors Adam Hollyfield, Michael Truman, Zach Coffman and Robert Harrison compete in the IEEE Region 5 Conference student robotics competition with their robot N.O.R.R.I.S..

In May 2007, a fund drive spearheaded by Dr. GN Reddy endows a scholarship in the name of LUEE retired professor Joseph T. Watt, Jr..

October 22nd 2007 the department was endowed with a $5M gift from Phil (LUEE '67) and Karen Drayer. Lamar University, in gratitude for this unparalleled generosity, named the department the

Phillip M. Drayer Department of Electrical Engineering

2008

In April of 2008, the Trill Robotics team consisting of seniors Luis Espinoza, Chris Hayes, Hien Nguyen, Eric Veltz, and Patrick Traveler competed in the IEEE Region 5 robotics competition held in Kansas City with their robot S.L.A.B., which placed 8th out of 43 competitors. Nelson Gaspard and Nicholas Cooper also competed in the student paper competion as first and second place winners from the East Area.

Also in April 2008, seniors Barry Chinn, Patrick Cobb, Melanie Griffith, Bryan McGallion and Randi Parker, members of the Antipyros senior projects team, competed in the Trinity College Firefighting Robot Competition with their robot "Squirt". Also in that competition, they won the 1st place medal in the engineering olympiad.

In May 2008 Dr. Bernard Maxum retired from the department.

In August 2008, Dr. Gleb Tcheslavski joined the department after a post-doc position at the University of Houston. He received his PhD from the Virginia Polytechnical Institute (VPI).

2009

In April of 2009, a senior projects team consisting of Jeremy Kaulfus, Ben Krueger, Jose Lopez, Caleb Mott, Danny Scott and Justin Walterstook their robot MegaWatt to Lubbock Texas to compete in the IEEE Region 5 Student Robotics Competition. Megawatt placed 11th out of over twenty-five entries.

Also in April, seniors Justin Walters and Lanston Fults competed in the Student Paper Competition as two LUEE entries out of eleven students selected from over sixty EE Departments in Region 5. Just getting to the Regional Level is a significant accomplishment, but Justin also took 3rd place for his paper: Supercapacitor Development and Applications in Modern Technology. This is the third time in the history of the department that one of our students has place at the Region 5 competition (some schools have never placed at all).

Later in April, seniors Robert Adams, Tristan Oswald, Grant Rivera and Ben Webb displayed their SolCam Hyperspectral Imaging camera at the Texas Space Grant Consortium's (TSGC) Design Challenge Showcase that was held in League City.

2010

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