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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Wendell C. Bean
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
William R. Wakeland
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.
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.
Floyd M. Crum
Floyd M. Crum became department chair upon the retirement of Dr.
Wakeland in 1989,
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.
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.
Cooke retired December of 1991 after 35 years of teaching.
Bernard J. Maxum
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,
engineering, fiber optic communications.
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.
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.
Watt retired in 1996 after 31 years of teaching at Lamar.
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.
H. R. Myler
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
of duty in the Army as a Missile Systems Officer, he worked at
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
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.
Wang joined the department in the summer of 2002 after graduating
from the New Mexico State University with a PhD in computer engineering.
May 2002, Nasiha Hrustemovic received the Plummer
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.
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
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
Nebojsa Murisic and Erick Trove (all LUEE '03) for their senior
won third place. The LUEE robot competed against thirty-one machines
from other universities in the region. In the final five, LUEE
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.
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.
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
April of 2005 Joseph K. Young (LUEE '06) was named Lamar University's first
May 2005, Steven Trahan & Josh Trevino receive Plummer
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.
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
May 2006, Don Lyle (LUEE '63) receives the first honorary doctorate bestowed
by LU, Worachute Paeng Buhame receives Plummer
August 2006 Jerry Smith and Joseph Young receive Plummer
Drayer (LUEE '67) receives a Lamar University Distiguished Alumni Award.
October 2006, Joseph (LUEE '75) and Linda Domino establish the Joseph F.
Domino endowed scholarship.
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..
May 2007, a fund drive spearheaded by Dr. GN Reddy endows a scholarship
in the name of LUEE retired professor Joseph T. Watt, Jr..
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
M. Drayer Department of Electrical Engineering
of 2008, the Trill Robotics team consisting of seniors Luis
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.
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
In May 2008
Dr. Bernard Maxum retired from the department.
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
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.
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).
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