February 7, 2023

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Paying Tribute to 1997 IEEE President Charles K. Alexander

Charles K. Alexander, 1997 IEEE president, died on 17 Oct at the age of 79.

The lively volunteer held a lot of substantial-degree positions all through the corporation, such as 1991–1992 IEEE Location 2 director. He was also the 1993 vice president of the IEEE United States Functions Board (now IEEE-United states of america).


The IEEE Existence Fellow worked in academia his entire career. At the time of his loss of life, he was a professor of electrical and laptop engineering at Cleveland Point out University and served as dean of its engineering school.

He was a former professor and dean at a number of universities which include Temple University, California Condition College, Northridge, and Ohio College. He also was a specialist to organizations and governing administration agencies, and he was involved in investigate and progress initiatives in solar strength and application engineering.

Alexander was dedicated to generating IEEE additional significant and helpful to engineering learners. He aided found the IEEE College student Qualified Consciousness plan, which presents talks and networking events. Alexander also aided uncovered IEEE’s university student publication IEEE Potentials.

He mentored quite a few learners.

“My lifestyle has been so positively impacted with the considerable option to know these a huge in the engineering globe,” states Jim Watson, an IEEE senior existence member and one of Alexander’s mentees. “While quite a few are extremely thriving engineers and instructors, Dr. Alexander rises far earlier mentioned these who contributed to the results of others.”

Aiding engineering learners realize success

Alexander was born in Amherst, Ohio, the place he became interested in mechanical engineering at a younger age. He mounted the autos and equipment employed on his family’s farm, in accordance to a 2009 oral history executed by the IEEE Historical past Middle.

He switched his pursuits and then acquired a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1965 from Ohio Ordinary (now Ohio Northern College), in Ada. As a freshman, he joined the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, a single of IEEE’s predecessor societies. Even though he was an undergraduate, he served as secretary of the school’s AIEE student branch.

Alexander went on to get master’s and doctoral levels in electrical engineering from Ohio University in Athens, in 1967 and 1971 respectively. As a graduate university student, he encouraged the university’s Eta Kappa Nu chapter, the engineering honor society that is now IEEE’s honor modern society. He considerably greater conference attendance, he claimed in the oral background. Many thanks to his attempts, he claimed, the chapter was rated 1 of the top four in the country at the time.

After graduating, he joined Ohio College in 1971 as an assistant professor of electrical engineering. All through this time, he also worked as a consultant for the U.S. Air Pressure and Navy, creating producing processes for their numerous new devices. Alexander also designed a tests method for reliable-condition filters, which had been applied in atomic warheads for missiles on plane carriers.

He still left a yr later on to join Youngstown Condition University, in Ohio, as an affiliate professor of electrical engineering. He was college advisor for the university’s IEEE college student department and aided raise its membership from 20 students to far more than 200, according to the oral heritage. In 1980 he moved to Tennessee and turned a professor of electrical engineering at Tennessee Tech University, in Cookeville. He also helped the school’s IEEE college student branch enhance its membership.

In 1986 he joined Temple College in Philadelphia as a professor and chair of the electrical engineering division. At the time, the university did not have an accredited engineering application, he explained in the oral record.

“They brought me on board to assist get the undergraduate packages in all 3 disciplines accredited,” he said. He also established master’s degree and Ph.D. programs for electrical engineering. He served as performing dean of the university’s faculty of engineering from 1989 to 1994.

After the engineering programs became accredited, Alexander stated in the oral history that his position was performed there so he still left Temple in 1994 to be part of California State College, Northridge. He was dean of engineering and computer science there.

Alexander returned to Ohio College as a browsing professor of electrical engineering and laptop or computer science. From 1998 to 2002, he was interim director of the school’s Institute for Corrosion and Multiphase Know-how. The institute’s scientists predict and take care of corrosion in oil and fuel generation and transportation infrastructure.

But just after a couple of yrs, Alexander mentioned, he skipped producing and rising engineering courses at universities, so when an possibility opened up at Cleveland State University in 2007, he took it. As dean of the university’s engineering school, he extra 12 college positions.

Supporting pupil members’ skilled enhancement

During his vocation, Alexander was an energetic IEEE volunteer. He served as chair of the IEEE University student Pursuits Committee, where by he aided launch packages and providers that are nonetheless remaining available currently. They involve the IEEE Scholar Experienced Awareness Software and the WriteTalk program (now ProSkills), which helps students establish their interaction techniques.

He was editor of the IEEE Transactions on Education. Along with IEEE Senior Member Jon R. McDearman, he aided start IEEE Potentials.

Potentials was built to be a little something of price for the undergraduates, who really don’t want to browse technological papers,” Alexander stated in the oral heritage. “We styled it after IEEE Spectrum. Jon and I decided to involve article content that would enable pupils on subjects like profession growth and how to be prosperous.”

Alexander continued to rise through the ranks in IEEE and was elected the 1991–1992 Region 2 director. The pursuing 12 months, he grew to become vice president of the IEEE United States Pursuits Board (now IEEE-Usa) and served in that position for two decades.

He was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 1994 “for management in the subject of engineering education and the skilled progress of engineering students.”

He was elected as the 1997 IEEE president.

“It was an outstanding honor,” he claimed in the oral historical past. “One of the really specific factors that has took place to me.”

He acquired the 1984 IEEE Centennial Medal as well as many awards for his work in education, including a 1998 Distinguished Engineering Instruction Achievement Award and a 1996 Distinguished Engineering Instruction Leadership Award, both from the Engineering Council, the United Kingdom’s regulatory system for the career.

“Dr. Alexander often emphasised the value of building expert and moral expertise to boost engineering job results,” Watson states. “He inspired many others to apply Winston Churchill’s renowned estimate ‘We make a residing by what we get but we make a everyday living by what we give.’”

To share your condolences or recollections of Alexander, use the commenting variety underneath.

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