In Memoriam: Paul Cartwright

Paul Cartwright, a long-time professor of electrical and computer engineering and former Institute of Technology assistant dean for student affairs, died of cancer on May 31, 2009. He was 93.

Born in Pasadena, Calif., Cartwright received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1937. After graduation, he worked for U.S. Steel as an engineer in Chicago for a short time. He returned to Minnesota in 1938 to work for Northern States Power Co.

In 1942, at the height of World War II, one of Cartwright's former professors offered him an instructor position at the University of Minnesota teaching young Navy recruits to become electrician's mates. During this period, Cartwright was at the forefront of a mushrooming student population that grew from 90 students in 1944 to 1,398 students in 1946. By the end of the war, Cartwright had helped to train 5,000 naval mates.

When the program ended, Cartwright earned his master's degree in electrical engineering in 1949. He was named assistant dean for student affairs in the Institute of Technology in 1964. He remained assistant dean and a faculty member in the Department of Electrical Engineering until his retirement in 1979.

During his 37 years at the University, Cartwright's major interest was to foster the success of Institute of Technology undergraduate students. He introduced major changes in student counseling activities; increased the student retention rate by providing innovative tutoring programs; helped to advance effective engineering-related student organizations; developed an IT House dormitory program; and developed many other imaginative programs that increased the graduation rate of engineering students.

In 1968, Cartwright received a Horace Morse Award for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education. In 1972, he received a Public Service Award from the National Society of Professional Engineers. He served in leadership roles for a number of professional organizations including as section chairman of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers; branch chairman of the American Society for Engineering Education; vice president of the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers; and also served on the board of directors for the Minneapolis Engineers' Club.

To honor his service and contributions to the Institute of Technology, the Paul A. Cartwright/IT Alumni Society Award was established after Cartwright retired. Each year, one Institute of Technology student is recognized for their distinguished record of scholarship and service to the college and the University.

June 3, 2009